Caravan Update: 15,000 troops sent to U.S. border in Texas


Angel Hernandez/DPA/Zuma Press/TNS

Migrants jump on a truck in order not to have to walk a part of their long way on Nov. 3, 2018 in Sayula, Veracruz, Mexico. Most of the migrants come from Honduras. They are currently on their way through Mexico towards the U.S. border.

Helen Rogalski, Managing Editor

On Friday, Nov. 2, roughly 15,000 members of the United States military made their way to the Mexican border in southern Texas, according to NBC news.

The troops were sent by President Donald Trump in response to a group of immigrants making their way from Central America in the form of a caravan. What started as a group of only 200 in mid-October has now grown up to 7,000, sparking a highly-public political response leading up to the midterm elections this Tuesday.

The group began in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and has made it as far as Oaxaca, Mexico.

The mass migration has followed political unrest countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, sparking groups of immigrants to flee north in search of a better life and the possibility of seeking asylum in either Mexico or the United States.

While the usual strategy of immigration for this group includes the employment of a coyote — someone that an individual pays a lump sum of money to smuggle them across borders — the caravan strategy has its own advantage.

“Going alone is risky, but a caravan is safer,” Carlos Humberto Alfaro, a 38-year-old Honduran man, told The Guardian. This is the overwhelming notion of those traveling in the caravan. While the harsh conditions, long treck, and overcrowded nature of the caravan may seem futile to the public, many immigrants believe it is their best chance.

Many of these individuals felt that they are faced with two options: stay in their home countries and risk death, or flee and risk freedom. The New York Times reported on its podcast “The Daily” that there is an overwhelming feeling of hope among the community of immigrants on the caravan. Many immigrants reported feeling as though they had “made it this far,” and were “optimistic” on the trek ahead. This mentality, however, does not line up with the political controversy the caravan has sparked across the United States.

Trump first responded to the expanding news coverage of the caravan through multiple Twitter posts.

“Hopefully Mexico will stop this onslaught at their Northern Border,” and “I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught — and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” were among the President’s tweets that gained extensive online traction.

In addition, Trump did not shy away from using the caravan as a strategy to rally supporters leading up to the midterm elections this Tuesday, Nov. 6.

“I am watching the Democrat Party led (because they want Open Borders and existing weak laws) assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, whose leaders are doing little to stop this large flow of people, INCLUDING MANY CRIMINALS, from entering Mexico to U.S,” he said on Twitter.

“Fortunately, Congress — not the President — has the power of the purse, and my colleagues and I will not stand idly by as this Administration ignores congressional intent,” responded Democratic congressman Eliot Engel from New York, and member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, according to CNN.

As over 15,000 troops made their way to the border, the American public and politicians remained divided on the issue and how the U.S. government should respond — by either turning away or granting asylum to many of these immigrants as they risk their lives to reach the border.

The Washington Post concluded that this deployment, in combination with the cost of National Guard forces stationed there since April of this year, could cost the government more than $200 million of the $716 billion annual defense budget by the end of 2018.