Texas landowners along the US-Mexico border have reportedly been told this week by the US Border Patrol to expect a possible influx of "armed civilians" on their property as a Central American migrant caravan makes its way towards the United States, reports AP.
The Associated Press reported that these civilians say they intend to support the National Guard and Border Patrol to prevent the illegal migrants from crossing into the U.S.
But some see the move as a negative, arguing that the armed civilians' presence would add even more tension should there be a confrontation.
Three activists told the AP they were going to the border or organizing others, and groups on Facebook have posted warnings about the caravan. One said it was “imperative that we have boots on the ground.” Another wrote: “WAR! SECURE THE BORDER NOW!” -Associated Press
Texas Minuteman militia president Shannon McGauley told AP that the group has members stationed at three points throughout the state's border, and expects 25-100 more arriving in coming days.
Militia border patrols are nothing new, as civilians will typically alert border patrol to apprehend trespassers.
On Wednesday, President Trump issued a new warning about the caravan and its "very tough fighters and people," tweeting: "The Caravans are made up of some very tough fighters and people. Fought back hard and viciously against Mexico at Northern Border before breaking through. Mexican soldiers hurt, were unable, or unwilling to stop Caravan. Should stop them before they reach our Border, but won’t!"
The Caravans are made up of some very tough fighters and people. Fought back hard and viciously against Mexico at Northern Border before breaking through. Mexican soldiers hurt, were unable, or unwilling to stop Caravan. Should stop them before they reach our Border, but won’t!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
Trump then reiterated that the US military "is being mobilized at the Southern Border" with "Many more troops coming."
"TURN AROUND!" he added:
Our military is being mobilized at the Southern Border. Many more troops coming. We will NOT let these Caravans, which are also made up of some very bad thugs and gang members, into the U.S. Our Border is sacred, must come in legally. TURN AROUND!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
The caravan, which is now estimated at 4,000 people after many have turned around or accepted asylum in Mexico, is currently around 1,000 miles south of the US border and estimated to arrive in around a week thanks to organizations which have been aiding the Central Americans, including a reported organized busing operation.
As Fox News report on Tuesday showed, migrants traveling with the caravan are being loaded on to chartered buses and transported to the next stop on the trail to the US, having refused Mexico's offer of asylum, shelter and jobs should they opt to stay in the country. Fox News reporter Griff Jenkins revealed that multiple professional buses have lined up to board the migrants, as footage from the report showed.
Meanwhile, President Trump told Fox News on Monday that the migrants are "wasting their time" and said "they are not coming in," adding that the US would build giant tent cities to house migrants who made it over the border, as opposed to the longstanding policy of "catch and release" by which migrants were assigned court dates and allowed to leave - typically never to be seen again.
"If they applied for asylum, we’re going to hold them until such time as their trial takes place," Trump told the Fox News host.
"Where? We have the facilities?" she asked.
"We’re going to put up - we’re going to build tent cities," Trump responded. "We’re going to put tents up all over the place. We’re not going to build structures and spend all of this, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars -- we’re going to have tents."
"They're going to be very nice," he added.
At this rate the migrants are scheduled for a showdown right around midterms.