The White House’s latest “troop surge” to the border will ensure that more than 7,000 National Guard and active duty troops are waiting at 26 crossing points in Texas, Arizona and California to intercept members of the migrant caravan that’s slowly making its way from Honduras to the US’s southern border with Mexico.
While most of the thousands of migrants who have been traveling with the caravan are expected to either turn back or seek asylum in Mexico, hundreds, if not thousands, could still try to cross into the US and either petition for asylum or try their luck with an illegal crossing as part of “Operation Faithful Patriot.”
But as a second caravan has formed and is making its way through southern Mexico behind the first caravan that formed on Oct. 13 in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, the latest wave of soldiers will likely be staying at the hardened border for some time, armed with weapons and tools to help provide “logistical support” for the more than 2,000 National Guard troops that have been deployed since April, and the border patrol agents whose responsibility it is to apprehend migrants, per RT.
About 3,500 migrants are being monitored in southern Mexico near the border between the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, while another group of roughly 3,000 is forming at the Mexican-Guatemalan border.
One of the first responsibilities of the latest troop wave will be to “harden” the border.
“We know border security is national security,” General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, a commander with the US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), announced at a news conference on Monday, noting that the main objective of the US forces is to “harden the points of entry.”
To accomplish this, the troops will build additional border barriers using razor wire and “over two dozen CBP air assets,” four Blackhawk helicopters and drones, which will monitor migrants attempting an illegal entry, according to Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. Furthermore, US troops will use “multiple fixed wings assets” to deploy troops to stop migrants where needed.
“We are bringing three helicopter companies in. They are enhanced with optics and sensors that will allow them to operate at night and provide assistance to bring our personnel exactly where they need to be regardless of the conditions,” Gen. O’Shaughnessy explained.
“The helicopters will ensure the agents can arrive in the most austere locations and fast-rope down and conduct…law enforcement activities.”
The border patrol’s message to the migrants is simple, one of their commanders said: “We will not allow a large group to enter the US in an unlawful and unsafe manner.”
Trump said in an interview with Fox that the migrants are “wasting their time,” adding that “they are not coming in.” He added that they would be captured and not let out until their asylum claims had been processed.
“When they are captured, we don’t let them out,” Trump told host Laura Ingraham. “We’re not letting them out…We’re not catching, we’re not releasing…We’re not letting them into this country.”
The number of troops deployed on the southern border is roughly equivalent to the 7,000 or so US troops deployed in Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS.