Migrant Caravan Troop Deployment Could Cost U.S. $50 Million Despite No Evidence of Terrorists, Major Criminal Gang Presence
The Trump administration is preparing for the most dangerous, and unlikely, scenario as it sends thousands of troops to the border to intercept a carvavan of Central American migrants making its way through Mexico at the cost of tens of millions of dollars.
Documents obtained by Newsweek from two Defense Department officials show that intelligence officials do not anticipate any terrorist infiltration and only limited involvement of criminal gangs as the caravan follows its projected route.
On Monday, the Pentagon announced that it was sending an additional 5,200 troops to the United States’s southern border amid increasingly heated rhetoric from President Donald Trump, including claims of the presence of “unknown Middle Easterners,” terrorists and MS-13 gang members. Those claims are not currently supported by intelligence on the ground.
The planning documents include intelligence assessments and precise movements of U.S. forces. The PowerPoint was constructed by the Joint Force Land Component Commander Threat Working Group and used in a PowerPoint presentation on Operation Faithful Patriot on Saturday. The documents are marked “UNCLASSIFIED//FOUO//LES” meaning they are “For Official Use Only” and are “Law Enforcement Sensitive.”
The operational documents outline the deployment, and as of Saturday, officials planned to send troops to four specific ports of entry, located in Brownsville, Texas, McAllen, Texas, Nogales, Arizona, and San Ysidro in San Diego.
Currently, the port of entry in McAllen would be the closest entry point into the U.S. for migrants traveling with at least three caravans headed toward the U.S.
However, the McAllen port of entry is still roughly 880 miles away for members of the first of the three caravans, which is currently making its way through Mexico toward the U.S. after embarking on its journey from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on October 13.
While McAllen might be the closest point of entry, Central American migrants traveling with a previous caravan that made its way to the U.S. in April made the journey to the San Ysidro point, which is the largest land border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.
The intelligence assessment included in Operation Faithful Patriot’s October 27 briefing concluded that the ports of entry at Brownsville, where the Rio Grande River flows between the entry point and Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico—and San Ysidro, which separates San Diego from Tijuana, Mexico, were significant areas of concern for infiltration by transcontinental criminal organizations, according to the documents.