Pentagon Assesses That Migrant Caravan Poses Little Risk To U.S., Trump Continues With Troop Deployment
Despite Pentagon briefings given to President Trump assessing that “only a small percentage” of four Central American migrant caravans’ members would make it to the United States’ southern ports of entry, Trump is moving ahead with his planned military deployment.
The briefings, which were given the president before he announced his intention to move 5,200 military personnel to the nation’s southern border estimate that of the thousands who departed from the Central American nations of Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua in mid-October, only 20 percent would reach the U.S.
The largest caravan, which left from the city of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on October 13, has dwindled from an estimated 7,500 persons, to around 3,500 as of Monday.
In an Fox News interview with Laura Ingraham on Monday, the president denied that the group had shrunk, telling Ingraham that he knew that there were “thousands and thousands” of people marching to the U.S., this based on the assertion that he was good at determining the size of crowds.
“That’s called an invasion of our country,” said Trump.
As many as three other caravans have departed Central America for the U.S. in the last month, though reports indicate that they are all significantly smaller in size.
Since the deployment was announced, critics have claimed the move was unnecessary and purely political, saying that the decision to move troops is meant to stoke immigration fears on the heel of Tuesday’s midterm elections.
They point to Trump’s remarks following Sunday’s mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 dead.
During a rally on Thursday, Trump lamented the killings as an apparent distraction from the political momentum he had been garnering, saying, “We did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible, because for seven days nobody talked about the elections.”
“More importantly, we have to take care of our people, and we don’t care about momentum when it comes to a disgrace like just happened to our country,” the president added. ”It did nevertheless stop a certain momentum, and now the momentum is picking up.”
Others argue that the president is blatantly misusing the military to further his political agenda. In a report given to Newsweek by a Department of Defense official with knowledge of the deployment puts the size of the country’s border garrison at between 5,000 and 7,000 personnel, with an additional 7,000 on standby.
President Trump brushed aside the criticism, saying, “I’ve been saying this long before election[s]. I’ve been saying this before I ever thought of running for office. We have to have strong borders. If we don’t have strong borders, we don’t have a country.”