It will still be weeks at best until the so-called “migrant caravan” — a movement of a few thousand refugees fleeing Central America in hopes of starting new lives in the US — makes it to the border. But it’s already become clear that those seeking safety in the United States may sadly find their lives even more at risk than they ever were in their former homes.
President Donald Trump — intent on turning a flood of refugees into a menacing “invasion” of terrorists, criminals and drug lords seeking to wreak havoc on US citizens — announced his intention to send about 800 military troops to the border in an attempt to stop the asylum seekers from entering the country.
Now he has upgraded those troop numbers, apparently preparing to turn the Mexico border into a militarized zone.
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USA Today reports:
The Pentagon will deploy up to 5,000 active-duty troops to the US-Mexico border in an effort to prevent members of a migrant caravan from illegally entering the country, a U.S. official said Monday. Administration officials said last week that they were considering a plan to send up to 1,000 active duty troops to the border, but that deployment has increased to 5,000, according to the Department of Homeland Security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the plans before a formal announcement Monday afternoon.
There are reportedly 2,000 National Guard members already at the border assisting Border Patrol.
According to the Trump administration, the troops will not be there to take official action, only to act as backup if necessary if border patrol gets overwhelmed. Even so, they’re keeping “every option on the table” — an ominous and looming threat of potential violence to anyone who tries to cross into the US without papers.
“We are looking at every possible way, within the legal construct that we have, to make sure that those who do not have a legal right to enter this country are not coming,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said, according to Politico. “Everything is on the table.”
In case there was any doubt that violence was a potential outcome, Nielsen later told Fox News, “We do not have any intention right now to shoot at people, but they will be apprehended.”
But maybe it’s possible that our military forces will stay under control, and they won’t actually murder any immigrants. After all, their only “crime” is being born in a country ravaged by poverty and violence, and being forced to enter the US in order to make a legal case for asylum. Remember: Entering a country to seek asylum is not a crime, and it does not require visas or other paperwork.
Well, unfortunately the military may not be the only armed Americans trying to stop the caravan. Yes, the militias are coming, too.
The AP reports:
The U.S. Border Patrol this week warned local landowners in Texas that it expects ‘possible armed civilians’ to come onto their property because of the caravan. Three activists told The Associated Press that they were going to the border or organizing others, and groups on Facebook have posted dire warnings about the caravan. One said it was ‘imperative that we have boots on the ground.’ Another wrote: “WAR! SECURE THE BORDER NOW!” The militia members said they plan to bring guns and equipment such as bulletproof vests and lend a hand to the Border Patrol to protect against people unlawfully entering the country. “They’re just laughing in our face,” said Shannon McGauley, president of the Texas Minutemen. “It’s a free-for-all in America.”
Militias have essentially become the violence-instigating wing of the white supremacist movement, and an onslaught of gun-carrying, wannabe-military, self-proclaimed border patrol racists “protecting” the US is little more than a match about to be tossed into gasoline. Because they have no leaders, rules or accountability to US criminal laws, this foray into “protecting the US” is likely to get hundreds murdered in the streets — all under the guise of “nationalism.”
The migrants left their homes because their own country was too dangerous. How many of them will lose their lives trying to enter what they were told was a land of safety and opportunity? Even one death at the hands of our military — legitimate, volunteer or “self-anointed” — will be too many.