[pjw] NEWS: US sending 5, 200 troops to border, double Syria deployment (AP 10/30)
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Tue Oct 30 13:24:24 EDT 2018
So, with all the horrible divisive violence within the borders of our
country, the President is upping the ante by tiptoeing around the Posse
Comitatus act and further militarizing the border. I like that the
headline from AP here calls attention to the US having 2000 troops in
Syria-- even though there's never been a UN mandate or vote of Congress to
put them there (oh, that part's not in the article).
You may recall that our governor (Kate Brown) said she would refuse to
send National Guard troops to the border for a similar mission.
This article also exposes a number of bits of misinformation the President
is spreading, in part in response to his new idea to deny citizenship to
people born in the US. *Sigh.*
Anyway, here's the article.
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
call or text : 503-236-3065
US sending 5,200 troops to border, double Syria deployment
Robert Burns, Colleen Long and Jill Colvin
Associated Press October 30, 2018
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon is deploying 5,200 troops to America's
southwest border in an extraordinary military operation a week before
nationwide elections in which President Donald Trump wants voters to
focus on a slow-moving "invasion" of Central American migrants.
The number of troops being sent is more than double the 2,000 who are
in Syria fighting the Islamic State group.
Two caravans of would-be migrants, mostly on foot and seeking asylum,
are still hundreds of miles from the U.S. border with Mexico. And any
migrants who complete the long trek to the border already face major
hurdles -- both physical and bureaucratic -- to being allowed to stay
in the United States.
Trump, eager to keep voters focused on illegal immigration in the
lead-up to the elections, stepped up his dire warnings about the
caravans, tweeting, "This is an invasion of our Country and our
Military is waiting for you!"
And in an interview with "Axios on HBO," Trump declared that he wanted
to order an end to the constitutional right to citizenship for babies
born in the United States to non-citizens.
Asked about the legality of such an executive order, Trump said,
"they're saying I can do it just with an executive order." He added
that "we're the only country in the world where a person comes in and
has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United
States," though a 2010 study showed that 30 countries offered
And in a late Monday interview, Trump said the U.S. would build tent
cities for asylum seekers.
"We're going to put tents up all over the place," told Fox News
Channel's Laura Ingraham. "They're going to be very nice, and they're
going to wait, and if they don't get asylum they get out."
Under current protocol, migrants who clear an initial screening are
often released until their cases are decided in immigration court,
which can take several years.
Trump denied his focus on the caravan is intended to help Republicans
in next week's midterms, saying, "This has nothing to do with
The Pentagon's Operation Faithful Patriot was described by the
commander of U.S. Northern Command as an effort to help Customs and
Border Protection "harden the southern border" by stiffening defenses
at and near legal entry points. Advanced helicopters will allow border
protection agents to swoop down on migrants trying to cross illegally,
said Air Force Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy.
Troops planned to take heavy concertina wiring to unspool across open
spaces between ports.
"We will not allow a large group to enter the U.S. in an unlawful and
unsafe manner," said Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and
Eight hundred troops already are on their way to southern Texas,
O'Shaughnessy said, and their numbers will top 5,200 by week's end.
Some of the troops will be armed. Troops would focus first on Texas,
followed by Arizona and then California.
The troops will join the more than 2,000 National Guardsmen whom Trump
has already deployed to the border. It remained unclear Monday why the
administration was choosing to send active-duty troops given that they
will be limited to performing the support functions the Guard already
The number of people in the first migrant caravan headed toward the
U.S. has dwindled to about 4,000 from about 7,000 last week, though a
second one was gaining steam and was marked by violence. About 600
migrants in the second group tried to cross a bridge from Guatemala to
Mexico en masse Monday. The riverbank standoff with Mexico police
followed a more violent confrontation Sunday, when the migrants used
sticks and rocks against officers. One migrant was killed Sunday night
by a head wound, but what caused it was unclear.
The first group passed through the spot via the river -- wading or on
rafts -- and was advancing through southern Mexico. That group appeared
to begin as a collection of about 160 who decided to band together in
Honduras for protection against the gangs that prey on migrants
traveling alone and snowballed as the group moved north. They are
mostly from Honduras, where it started, as well as El Salvador and
A smaller caravan earlier this year dwindled greatly as it passed
through Mexico, with only about 200 making it to the California border.
Migrants are entitled under both U.S. and international law to apply
for asylum. But there already is a bottleneck of would-be asylum
seekers waiting at some U.S. border crossings to make their claims,
some waiting as long as five weeks.
McAleenan said the aim of the operation was to deter migrants from
crossing illegally, but he conceded his officers were overwhelmed by a
surge of asylum seekers at border crossings. He also said Mexico was
prepared to offer asylum to members of the caravan.
The White House also is weighing additional border security measures,
including blocking those traveling in the caravan from seeking legal
asylum and preventing them from entering the U.S.
The military operation drew quick criticism.
"Sending active military forces to our southern border is not only a
huge waste of taxpayer money but an unnecessary course of action that
will further terrorize and militarize our border communities," said
Shaw Drake, policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union's
border rights center at El Paso, Texas.
Military personnel are legally prohibited from engaging in immigration
enforcement. The troops will include military police, combat engineers
and others helping on the border.
The ramped-up rhetoric over the migrants and expected deployments comes
as the president has been trying to turn the caravans into a key
election issue just days before elections that will determine whether
Republicans maintain control of Congress.
"This will be the election of the caravans, the Kavanaughs, law and
order, tax cuts, and you know what else? It's going to be the election
of common sense," Trump said at a rally in Illinois on Saturday night.
On Monday, he tweeted without providing evidence, "Many Gang Members
and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our
"Please go back," he urged them, "you will not be admitted into the
United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an
invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!"
It's possible there are criminals mixed in, but Trump has not
substantiated his claim that members of the MS-13 gang, in particular,
are among them.
The troops are expected to perform a wide variety of functions such as
transporting supplies for the Border Patrol but not engage directly
with migrants seeking to cross the border, officials said. One U.S.
official said the troops will be sent initially to staging bases in
California, Texas and Arizona while the CBP works out precisely where
it wants the troops positioned. U.S. Transportation Command posted a
video on its Facebook page of a C-17 transport plane that it said was
delivering Army equipment to the Southwest border in support of the
The U.S. military has already begun delivering jersey barriers to the
southern border in conjunction with the deployment plans.
Associated Press writers Elliot Spagat in San Diego and Lolita C.
Baldor in Prague contributed to this report.
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