Armed militia groups head to U.S.-Mexico border, awaiting migrant caravan

Army soldiers from Ft. Riley Kansas install protective wire along the Rio Grande at the U.S.-Mexico border on Nov. 2 2018

Army soldiers from Ft. Riley Kansas install protective wire along the Rio Grande at the U.S.-Mexico border on Nov. 2 2018

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

American soldiers recently deployed to the United States" southern border with Mexico ahead of the approaching "migrant caravan' began preparations this week; laying 1,000 feet of barbed-wire fencing weeks before thousands of immigrants are set to arrive in the region. There is no plan for soldiers to come in contact with immigrants or to reinforce Department of Homeland Security as they're conducting their mission.

Nor will troops receive hostile-fire pay, which is given to service members in close proximity to a firefight or exposed to a barrage of fire from an enemy combatant. "Consider it a rifle", he said last Thursday.

The president was referring to active duty soldiers placing concertina wire near a Texas border crossing over the weekend.

President Donald Trump tweeted last week that the caravan of migrants traveling toward the USA border could be taken down by lethal force.

So far, local police in Mexico have not tried to stop the caravan.

"While DHS has discussed the need for potential assistance with force protection of CBP personnel, calling this line of support "law enforcement activities" would be factually inaccurate", the DHS official said. The remark was short-lived as the next day Trump walked it back, saying that those who attack the United States military will simply be arrested in accordance with USA law.

There is no plan for USA military forces to be involved in the actual mission of denying people entry to the United States. And shooting someone over throwing a rock is definitely not proportional. "They hit them with rocks". They're going to be very nice. "But we're going to arrest those people quickly and for a long time", he told reporters. "I didn't say shoot". That's a law enforcement function, and the military can't perform those duties on U.S. soil unless there's no other way to enforce the law, William Banks, an expert on the military's domestic authorities at Syracuse University, told me. The move was in line with the support mission to Customs and Border Protection being provided by U.S. Northern Command.

The official also said there were about 2,600 troops at staging bases, mostly in Texas, with several thousand more expected to flow in this past weekend and move into California and Arizona.

That's why it's so striking that Trump continues to say the military will take actions it likely won't. "We are absolutely in support of [Customs and Border Patrol]".

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