Reporters sat down with Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday on his way to McAllen, Texas to learn more about mission ‘Operation Faithful Patriot’. Mattis explained that he ordered the Department of Defense to change the name of the mission to ‘border support’ to appear less confusing to the American people.
Base Camp Donna, 10 miles east of McAllen, is the name given to the base that houses roughly 5,900 soldiers and is engineered to last a long deployment. Mattis is anticipating the number of deployed soldiers to raise to 7,000.
The migrant caravan the troops are waiting to respond to is still weeks away, heading west to Tijuana. The only mission they have received thus far was to harden and support parts of the border with spiked wire.
When questioned by reporters about the legitimacy of the mission, Mattis responded with “Border security is part of national security”, while carefully leaving out his support or opposition of the mission.
When pressed by a reporter about what families should expect from the holidays in terms of seeing their loved ones who are currently deployed, Mattis responds with “we are a 360 day a year military, rain or shine, light or dark, cold weather or hot weather..”
Tensions are rising in Mexico as a caravan of migrants from Northern Honduras has made way on foot and by vehicle through Guatemala, intending to reach the United States. On the eighth day of their journey, a clash formed when they reached Mexican police that resulted in tear gas being thrown toward the immigrants and six officers becoming wounded.
President Trump is back at it again with the twitter fingers, this time threatening those Central American nations with the suspension of foreign aid unless they stop their northward march. He also made it clear that he intends to deploy the American military to the southwest border if the Mexican police is unable to stop the growing caravan.
Mexican authorities have made it clear that those who attempt to enter illegally will be detained and deported. Those with valid documents and visas would be allowed in, and those seeking asylum or some form of protection must wait in a migration center for up to 45 days. A Honduran migrant made his mission statement very clear: “We don’t have the right to go into Mexico but we have to do it because our country is undergoing economic collapse. There’s no work, there’s no money, there’s nothing.”