A civilian paramilitary with Arizona Border Recon watches for drug smugglers and undocumented immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border near Arivaca, Arizona. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
More than 100 volunteers from U.S. civilian militia groups are en route to the southern border in an effort to enforce the country’s immigration laws, as thousands of Central American migrants make their way through Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S., reports the Washington Post.
The big picture: The volunteers and so-called “border vigilantes” were motivated by President Trump’s constant warnings that the migrant caravan posed a threat to the country’s national security. Trump has also claimed that "criminals and unknown Middle Easterners" are among those traveling. “My phone’s been ringing nonstop for the last seven days. You got other militias, and husbands and wives, people coming from Oregon, Indiana. We’ve even got two from Canada,” Shannon McGauley, president of the Texas Minutemen, tells the Post.
The backdrop: The Trump administration last week deployed 5,200 U.S. troops to the border to stop the caravan. By the end of the year, it plans to send as many as 15,000, which could reportedly cost taxpayers about $200 million.
- Newsweek, citing internal documents it has obtained, reported last week that U.S. military officials are worried about “unregulated militia members self-deploying to the border in alleged support" of immigration authorities.
- Officials reportedly said that 200 militia members are currently operating along the southwest border and warned about reports of " incidents of unregulated militias stealing National Guard equipment during deployments."