Pentagon mobilizes 5000 troops to Mexico border to confront Migrant Caravan
The Migrant Caravan is marching through Central America and is expected to take months to reach the US, but the Pentagon has already responded.
The Migrant Caravan started on October 12, 2018, when a group of 160 residents from the crime-ridden Honduran city of San Pedro Sula gathered together to start a slow trek north, to escape the violence and poverty of their home city.
They had been planning their departure for a month, and on October 4, Bartolo Fuentes, a former Honduran legislator, and advocate for migrant rights in Mexico and Central America posted about the Migrant Caravan on his Facebook page, and, as a consequence, the original 160 migrants have grown to an estimated 7,000 people.
To thwart their entry into the US illegally, the Pentagon has mobilized 5,000 men to join the 2,100 National Guard troops already posted on the border between the USA and Mexico. On October 29, 2018, President Donald Trump posted a warning on his Twitter/@realDonaldTrump extolling the migrants to turn back or face the US military.
"This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!"
President Donald Trump, Twitter/@realDonaldTrump, October 29, 2018.
PENTAGON DEPLOYED TROOPS A MILITARY DETERRENT
In his Tweet, the President qualified "some" of the MIgrant Caravan as gang members and "very bad people."
He defined the Caravan as an invasion of the US and warned the migrants that if they did not turn back they would face the US Military - obviously referring to the 5,000 men deployed by the Pentagon to the border.
NATIONAL GUARD NOT CONSIDERED SUFFICIENT TO HALT THE CARAVAN
Earlier this year, the President had already deployed 2,100 National Guard troops across the border. The beefing up of the military presence on the border indicates that President Trump considers the force insufficient to halt the Migrant Caravan.
IS THE MIGRANT CARAVAN A SECURITY THREAT?
Human rights activists have pointed out that the Caravan consists of men, women, and children escaping from dire poverty, banding together on the road to protect themselves from extortion and rape. The Migrant Caravan, they say, is anything but a military threat by an invading armed force.
MIGRANTS WILL PROBABLY APPLY FOR ASYLUM IN THE USA
Most of the migrants will in all probability present themselves at ports of entry to request asylum, a legal way to enter the United States, which is what happened with previous Caravans.
The President is expected to propose limiting or halting, the ability of migrants to request asylum; and will be facing the same legal challenges by immigration advocacy and civil rights organizations that greeted his 2017 travel-ban.
IS THE CARAVAN A HUMANITARIAN DISASTER IN THE MAKING?
When the Migrant Caravan started out on October 12 it numbered 160 people, now they are 7,000. As the Caravan moves north through equally poverty-stricken rural Mexico, more desperate people are likely to join.
The thousands are walking, with inadequate nutrition and water supplies and severe dehydration is expected to start taking a toll on the most vulnerable.
The migrants are sleeping on the road, or when they enter towns, on the streets. The cities and villages on their route are unlikely to have the resources to feed such a crowd.
Humanitarian organizations are fearful of the toll malnutrition and disease may take on the Migrant Caravan in the months it will take to walk to the US border, but the USA seems intent on mobilizing Military forces, not humanitarian aid.