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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."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks has dropped plans to require that U.S. workers get the COVID vaccine or submit to weekly testing, the company announced Tuesday in a memo to employees.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

3 hours ago - World

Netanyahu plea talks enter crunch time

Netanyahu (right) meets with his lawyer ahead of a court hearing last February. Photo: Reuven Casto/Pool/AFP via Getty

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's opposition leader and former prime minister, is negotiating a possible plea deal over the corruption charges against him, but Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit appears to be toughening his terms.

Why it matters: Mandelblit leaves office on Jan. 31. Negotiations could continue beyond that point, but the next attorney general may be less interested in quickly reaching a deal.

3 hours ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.