President Donald Trump’s administration announced on Monday it is sending 5,000 active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in the latest stunt designed to raise fears about a migrant caravan traveling north from Central America.
The Pentagon, under Defense Secretary James Mattis, reportedly approved operation Faithful Patriot last week. Despite initial estimates that 800 troops would be sent to the border, Fox News reported that 1,700 members of the U.S. military are expected to be at the southern border by Saturday.
JUST IN: US troops already flowing to border. 800 arrived today. Another 200 to arrive tomorrow. 1700 will be in place by Saturday, according to senior US defense official. 5000 total expected to be sent. Mattis signed order Friday authorizing troops to be there through Dec 15,
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) October 29, 2018
Politico noted some troops already at the border “are actually feeding and shoveling out manure from the stalls of the Border Patrol’s horses.”
Gil Kerlikowske, former Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) commissioner, told the Washington Post that Trump’s action is “a misuse of active duty military,” adding, “To say this isn’t a political stunt is misleading the public.”
The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham noted the number of U.S. troops at the border will exceed the number of members of the caravan, which continues to shrink as migrants claim asylum in Mexico during the dangerous journey.
Number of troops being sent to the border: 5,200
Est. current size of caravan: 3,000-4,000
Normal daily number of pedestrian crossings at El Paso crossing: 18,000
— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) October 29, 2018
Earlier on Monday, Trump resumed tweeting conspiracy theories about the migrant caravan. The anti-Semite who has been charged with murdering 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday also ranted about right-wing caravan conspiracy theories on social media.
The smears of migrants fleeing violence, natural disasters, and brutal authoritarian crackdowns have been amplified by conservative media and elected Republicans alike, as the manufactured caravan controversy has become the GOP’s closing argument in advance of next week’s midterm elections.
Numerous prominent Republicans, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Trump, have amplified the baseless conspiracy theory that the migrant caravan is being funded or directed by George Soros, who was targeted in last week’s spate of attempted bombings of Democrats who have been frequent focuses of Trump’s incendiary rhetoric.
Last week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said there are no plans for the U.S. government to shoot at the asylum-seekers “right now.”
Shepard Smith, Fox News’ unofficial on-air ombudsman, reacted to the Pentagon’s announcement by telling viewers, “There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There is nothing at all to worry about.”
Shep Smith on the migrant caravan: "There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There is nothing at all to worry about." pic.twitter.com/4dLmPuZem0
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) October 29, 2018