WASHINGTON – Last week Secretary of Defense Mattis it announced he was working on authorizing additional U.S. troops to the border with Mexico to assist the Border Patrol and National Guard in dealing with immigration issues.
On Monday afternoon, the U.S. Air Force General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, who is in charge of Operation Faithful Patriot, says 5,000 active duty troops are moving to “secure Customs and Border Protection’s ability to harden the southern border.” Gen. O’Shaughnessy said, “that’s just the beginning.”
Those troops will be armed as they support more than 2,000 National Guard troops already deployed to assist Border Patrol. The protection efforts will focus on Texas, Arizona and California.
The move is in response to the thousands of migrants heading to the U.S. through southern Mexico with the intention of entering the United States. There are at least 3,500 in the first group and an estimated 3,000 in a second group.
President Donald Trump referred to the groups as being part of an “invasion” and declaring the “Military is waiting for you.” He says the group which includes “Gang members and some very bad people” will not be admitted, “unless you go through the legal process.”
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
The Customs and Border Protection effort is Operation Secure Line which includes an additional 1,000 border agents officers on hand for surveillance, riot control and clearing people attempting to cross the border.
The Department of Defense says soldiers will “harden points of entry and secure gaps around points of entry.” For that effort, soldiers are bringing in jersey barriers that will be manned by active-duty troops to protect the integrity of the border.
Additionally, three helicopter companies are moving in place to provide surveillance, night vision capabilities, fast deployment capabilities, and medivac assistance. Large cargo planes, like C-130s, are also en route to move border agents where they are needed.
General O’Shaughnessy noted personnel on the border already have 21 miles of concertina wire on hand to assist in their efforts, with an additional 150 miles of wire on the way to the region.