Three separate caravans of migrants are en route to the United States from Central America.
According to a report by the Washington Times, Pentagon officials believe that one of the caravans is made up of around 12,000 Central Americans.
This report about the newly formed caravans from Defense Undersecretary for Policy John Rood was part of his justification in his request to keep troops deployed to the southern border.
President Donald Trump caught the ire of some Democrats when he first deployed troops to the border in late October to assist border patrol in securing the border when the first caravan arrived. The original deployment had more than 5,000 active duty troops sent to assist in protecting the border.
Although many have since left the border, approximately 2,300 active duty troops are still there assisting the agents at the border, along with nearly 2,000 National Guardsmen.
Vice Admiral Michael Gilday, director of operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress that he believes the deployment at the border is not a waste of resources because it has provided active duty training to the soldiers at the border, as well as fulfilling the mission of supporting border patrol.
“We bring a skill set with respect to detection and monitoring that I think is going to be very valuable for CBP,” Admiral Gilday told Congress.
For now, troops will be stationed through September. The president still sees the troops as a necessary part of securing the border due to the lack of a border wall and he has expressed concern over the newly formed caravans.
Another big Caravan heading our way. Very hard to stop without a Wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2019
Mexico is doing NOTHING to stop the Caravan which is now fully formed and heading to the United States. We stopped the last two – many are still in Mexico but can’t get through our Wall, but it takes a lot of Border Agents if there is no Wall. Not easy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 19, 2019
Deploying troops to the border is one of the only options he has to secure the border, outside of declaring a national emergency to build the wall. Although the partial government shutdown has ended, the two sides aren’t close to making a deal. President Trump is standing firm on his request for $5.7 billion and Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn’t moved from her sarcastic offer of one dollar.
As IJR previously reported, the president said that resuming a shutdown on February 15 is still an option he may consider if Democrats do not bring forward an offer for a physical barrier.