Trump: “Our military is waiting for you.”
Reports have come out today that the military will deploy 5,000 troops to the border. Initial reports last week stated that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis planned to send only 800.
A Pentagon spokesperson said the situation remains fluid and the number of troops could change.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
The U.S. and federal law-enforcement officials said troops are likely to be deployed to ports of entry, at least in initial phases of the U.S. military mission, which the Pentagon has named Operation Faithful Patriot.
U.S. troops later expect to support border officials by doing things like building tents, providing medical support and helping staff command and control centers.
Under the latest plans, about 1,800 troops will go to Texas, 1,700 to Arizona and 1,500 to California. The troops will be drawn from about 10 U.S. Army installations and consist largely of military police and engineers, one of the U.S. officials said. U.S. Marines also will be deployed, the U.S. official said.
The Pentagon sent 2,000 National Guard troops to the border earlier this year.
Mattis said on Sunday that they “are preparing what we call ‘defense support for civilian authorities'” and “[I]f you look at how we organize for the storms…we surround the storm.”
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan explained that his “agency wasn’t considering plans to have troops enforce immigration law.” He said that officials have started to work on plans “to secure the ports (of entry) to prevent a large group from coming at one time” and “updating longstanding plans to deal with a mass migration situation, including possible temporary holding and processing facilities.” The Wall Street Journal continued:
Since the spring, foreigners have routinely had to wait days or weeks to cross the border and ask for asylum at border crossings from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas, forcing them to stay in shelters in Mexico.
Mr. McAleenan, who spoke to reporters Friday during a tour of the ports of entry near San Diego, said the agency was making contingency plans for an increase in asylum seekers at ports of entry, including the anticipated arrival of thousands of migrants in the caravan making their way from Central America through Mexico. Plans include an expansion of metering how many asylum seekers are allowed into each port daily.
The agency also is considering what to do about people who have been waiting in Mexico, as directed by U.S. border officials, should the president temporarily bar asylum seekers from the border.
“We’re not going to allow a large group to push into the United States unlawfully,” McAleenan said. “We can’t have it. It’s not safe for anybody involved.”
But the last migrant caravan that reached the United States earlier this year showed that most participants took the legal route by applying for asylum. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 122 caravan members were caught illegally crossing the border, but 401 requested asylum, with 93 percent passing their initial screening.
Still, McAleenan said his hands are tied when asked how his officers can process more caravan members who present themselves at ports of entry, as the Department of Homeland Security has urged them to do.
“It’s not turning people away, it’s asking them to wait,” he said.
In other words, officials cannot wave a wand or snap their fingers to magically make it happen. There is a process.
President Donald Trump tweeted this morning:
Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
USA Today reported that its source within the Department of Homeland Security said that Trump will “deliver a speech on Tuesday to outline further actions to halt the migrant caravan, which could include limiting, or halting, the ability of migrants to request asylum.”
I blogged last week that Trump has pondered using executive action to stop the migrant caravan from entering America along the lines of the travel order he issued early in his administration.
The San Francisco Chronicle wrote “Trump would be acting under a provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act,” which allows him “to ban certain classes of immigrants from entering the country if they are deemed ‘detrimental to the interests of the United States.’”
The article continued:
First, Homeland Security and the Justice Department would issue a rule limiting immigrants’ ability to seek asylum if they are part of a population barred by the president. The rule would take effect immediately, unlike most, and be justified as an extraordinary situation.
That would clear the way for Trump to issue a proclamation directed at a specific population, expected to target the 7,000-plus Central Americans heading toward the U.S.
None of the sources had seen a draft of the proclamation, which would ultimately dictate how sweeping or targeted the rule would be, though they had seen or heard about the draft of the initial rule.
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