Trump is sending more than 5,000 troops to the border, in what many call a political stunt

dave_brown24/Twitter

The migrant caravan won’t even reach the U.S. for another 2 months.

President Donald Trump has already started deploying 5,200 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in a “show of force” against the 3,500-person migrant caravan currently traveling through Mexico, according to the New York Times. However, many are calling out Trump’s “Operation Faithful Patriot” as a xenophobic stunt to rally his far-right base before the midterms.

The deployment is especially silly, considering it has launched months before the caravan will even reach the border. The caravan may shrink more as it makes its way north, as it already has from its original count of 7,000. Additionally, it’s legal to seek asylum in the U.S. at a port of entry, and still within a person’s legal right to seek asylum even if they come into the U.S. unauthorized.

On Twitter, Washington Examiner senior editor Dave Brown shared footage of a C-17 aircraft leaving for Fort Knox as part of the mission, as well as photos of soldiers loading the aircraft.

As of Monday, 800 troops had arrived at the border, with 200 planned for Tuesday and 1,700 by Saturday, according to Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin. While the military is already preparing for the operation, the critics of Trump’s plan are calling it a bid for political points from his anti-immigrant base one week before the midterm election.

According to the Washington Post‘s Jacqueline Alemany, former Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske called Trump’s plan a “misuse of active duty military” and a “political stunt.”

“This is using the troops as props,” Jason Dempsey, a former Army infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan now an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told the Times. “We’re using a bunch of people to waste their time while they backstop the Border Patrol.”

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According to Vox, there isn’t much that active duty military would be able to do at the border besides support CBP, even if the caravan were arriving this week and weren’t 1,000 miles away. The military is sending night vision-capable helicopter companies, airplanes to transport Border Patrol agents, medical units, and 22 miles of fencing reinforcement.

U.S. law, however, prevents the military from “using its capabilities directly to enforce U.S. domestic laws” without Congress’ authorization. Therefore, they won’t be able to directly arrest, detain, or deport people themselves.

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.