President Donald Trump is calling for troops to be sent to the border as the latest caravan of Central American migrants head toward the U.S.-Mexico border but one critic calls the move unnecessary and a piece of “political theater.”
The caravan, by some estimates, is now 7,000 people strong and the president is calling the group a national security threat. He is proposing to send 800 active-duty troops to the border in the coming weeks.
“I don't think it's being done for law enforcement reasons,” USD’s Trans-Border Institute director Ev Meade said. “Unfortunately, it's largely part of a political theater on immigration policy right now, and I think it's probably unnecessary.”
Meade doesn’t see the caravan has a security threat. Very few of the caravan members even make it into the U.S. and there is no evidence they pose any threats, he said. The group is mostly made up of mostly women and children.
“There's just no indication that these are people who pose some kind of imminent threat to the United States, so I don't think the language of invasion or of a crisis is justified,” Meade said.
In April, some 4,000 members of the National Guard were deployed to the border when another caravan of migrants approached the U.S.
Threat or not, Terence Shigg, the president of the local chapter of the National Border Patrol Council, is welcoming any help he can get. He said the issue isn’t the caravan but a lack of resources for border patrol.
“Even without this caravan, one of the things that we want people to understand is that the [asylum seekers] and refugees, they're still coming every day, Shigg said. “It's not as if there's been a hiatus and none have been showing up. We've still been dealing with this issue.”
Even if active-duty troops are sent, they will not be dealing with hands-on law enforcement, such as making arrests. The Posse Comitatus Act signed into law in 1878 by President Rutherford B. Hayes forbids the federal government from using the military to enforce U.S. laws within the borders of the United States.
Instead, those troops will take on support duties freeing up Border Patrol agents to guard the border.
It was not known how many of the 4,000 National Guardsmen sent in April are still working with the Border Patrol.