Thousands of troops have been deployed to the southern border by president Donald Trump in response to a caravan of Central Americans refugees attempting to seek asylum in the United States. Laws relating to asylum seeking have also been made far tougher, and numerous right-wing militia organizations have deployed to the southern border.
More than 5,600 active members of the military were deployed to the southern border, alongside members of the national guard and border patrol according to the White House, far more than the amount of troops currently in Iraq, where 5,200 active military personnel were deployed in December, 2018 according to the Pentagon.
“[The caravan is not a threat,] because they are just coming looking for jobs,” sophomore Luke Thomsen said.
The role of these troops has not been made entirely clear, though the White House has said they will not be serving an active role in enforcing immigration laws. They will aid in the role of the 2,000 national guardsmen who are deployed on the border already, including providing aerial support for missions, building barricades and maintaining vehicles according to the Washington Post.
“With every group, there are a few bad apples, but I don’t think [the migrants] are all bad, or they’re all going to kill us,” senior Kayla Stewart said.
Numerous militia groups have also deployed to the border with the goal to block the migrant caravan. One such group, the Texas Minutemen, have at least 100 members deploying to the Rio Grande, according to Texas Minutemen president Shannon McGauley. The Minuteman Project also issued a call to arms.
“Your presence is needed along the 2,000-mile border from San Diego, California to Brownsville, Texas at any time for the next 90 days,” the organization said in a statement released on their website.
The troops deployed to the border are also preparing for citizen militias attempting to steal gear from the troops. According to documents obtained by the Huffington Post, the military is preparing for the risk, as well as the risks of protesters or citizen militias clashing with members of the military.
“Estimated 200 unregulated armed militia members currently operating along the southwest border. Reported incidents of unregulated militias stealing National Guard equipment during deployments. They operate under the guise of citizen patrols supporting [Customs and Border Protection] primarily between [Points of Entry],” the documents read.