President Trump will send more than 5,000 active duty soldiers to help “harden” the U.S.-Mexico border in the coming days, the Pentagon announced on Monday. The massive deployment is the latest extreme(ly racist) overreaction by the Trump administration to the caravan of several thousand Central American asylum seekers currently traveling through Mexico toward the United States.
Speaking with reporters on Monday, Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy confirmed that 5,200 soldiers will be sent to the bolster the 2,000 National Guard troops already playing menial support roles along the border, such as shoveling horse shit.
That number is a more than five-fold increase from earlier estimates, which claimed the Defense Department was prepared to send approximately fewer than 1,000 solders in the coming weeks. According to the Pentagon, 800 soldiers are already on their way, with the remaining 4,400 to be deployed shortly thereafter. To put things in perspective, keep in mind that what had initially swelled to a caravan of around 7,000 people when it first crossed into Mexico has been winnowed down to approximately 4,000, and is likely to shrink even more as it approaches the United States.
Meanwhile, the president is trying to discourage migrants from exercising their legal right to claim asylum by stationing almost half as many soldiers at the border as there are American soldiers in Afghanistan at the moment.
The specifics of how the administration settled on such a massive number of soldiers remains unclear. But according to Pentagon officials, they will be there for “mission enhancing capabilities” and will be armed, which means that the American public can looking forward to plenty of pictures of troops hopping out of humvees and looking angrily across rows of barbed wire—just in time for the midterm election! (This, of course, has been the White House’s plan all along.)
Late last week, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen declared that although her Border Patrol agents had “no intention” of opening fire on incoming asylum seekers, she could not rule out the possibility that federal agents would, in fact, shoot at undocumented immigrants trying to cross the border. I’m sure deploying thousands of armed soldiers will do wonders to de-escalate the situation.