Operation Faithful Patriot, the mission to defend the border against a looming 7,000-strong member caravan, is continuing as the first 100 active duty troops have arrived at the border between the United States and Mexico.
As Fox News reports, the active duty group joins 2,600 troops that are currently stationed at the border and will conduct assessments on the border security at the port of entry in McAllen, Texas. The group will also construct barriers to deter and prevent illegal entry and temporary structures for housing other soldiers.
“Several thousand more expected to flow in through the weekend and move into California and Arizona,” Fox News reports.
The exact number of troops which will be sent to the border is not yet known as the Pentagon reportedly approved of 7,000 troops, but President Trump said the number could extend up to 15,000 troops.
While talking to reporters at the White House, President Trump said he was ordering the soldiers to protect the border to prevent what happened when migrant caravans previously crossed the Guatemalan and Mexican borders. One caravan forcefully toppled the border fence and another reportedly used guns and even Molotov cocktails.
From Fox News:
Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, who as head of U.S. Northern Command is leading the military operation, dubbed “Operation Faithful Patriot,” has argued that the caravan is a potential threat, although he has not fully defined the nature of that threat.
Migrants from Central America, including many families and hundreds of children, are slowly moving north, though they remain hundreds of miles from the border. One group got into a violent confrontation with Mexican police at the border with Guatemala, throwing rocks.
“I think what we have seen is we’ve seen clearly an organization at a higher level than we’ve seen before,” O’Shaughnessy said. “We’ve seen violence coming out of the caravan and we’ve seen as they’ve passed other international borders, we’ve seen them behave in a nature that has not been what we’ve seen in the past.”
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The second group back at the Guatemalan frontier has been more unruly than the first that crossed. Guatemala’s Interior Ministry said Guatemalan police officers were injured when the migrant group broke through border barriers on Guatemala’s side of the bridge.
Mexico authorities said migrants attacked its agents with rocks, glass bottles and fireworks when they broke through a gate on the Mexican end but were pushed back, and some allegedly carried guns and firebombs.
On Monday, Mexican Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete Prida lamented what he called a second ‘violent attempt’ to storm the border, accusing people of placing the elderly, pregnant women and children at the front, putting them at risk of being crushed.
‘Fortunately, that did not happen,’ he said.
President Trump has made the looming migrant caravan as a campaign issue ahead of the midterm elections next week. In a tweet, the president said he would not allow the group to enter the U.S.
“Our military is being mobilized at the Southern Border. Many more troops coming,” Trump said in a tweet. “We will NOT let these Caravans, which are also made up of some very bad thugs and gang members, into the U.S. Our Border is sacred, must come in legally. TURN AROUND!”