[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.
dan handelman
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
    birthright citizenship.

    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
    Border Protection.

    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
    is doing.

    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
    Southern Border."

    "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.

More information about the pjw-list mailing list