Trump to Send More Troops to the Mexican Border to Stop Migrant Caravans

Trump is sending troops to the US border to stop caravans of Hondurans on their way to the US through Mexico.

On Monday, Trump announced he would send US troops to the Mexican border to stop a caravan of migrants walking to the US from Honduras.

On Friday, Defense Secretary James Mattis authorized the deployment of more troops to the US-Mexico border.

CNN notes What the Troops Can and Can't Do.

There's a law that dates back more than a century known as "posse comitatus" that bars active-duty US troops from domestic law enforcement without authorization. Other laws and regulations have further clarified that troops can't participate in activities such as making arrests and conducting searches, according to a Congressional Research Service analysis.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told Fox News on Friday that the military has "no intention" of shooting at anyone in the caravan, but she noted that officers of her agency and troops alike have the right to defend themselves.

What the Troops Cannot Do

  • Arrest people
  • Seize drugs
  • Conduct searches

What the Troops Can Do

  • Planning assistance
  • Provide engineering support with temporary barriers, barricades and fencing
  • Provide aviation support to move US Customs and Border Protection personnel
  • Provide medical teams to triage, treat and prepare for commercial transport of patients
  • Operate command control facilities
  • Erect temporary housing and provide personal protective equipment for CBP personnel

Past presidents haven't tested these boundaries and therefore courts haven't weighed in. The Trump administration so far has avoided questions about how exactly it interprets these restrictions.

A separate administration official on Friday told CNN that based on items laid out in a request from the Department of Homeland Security, the request would likely result in more than 1,000 troops being sent, but there's a likelihood that number could eventually be pared back.


  • Number of troops
  • Whether the troops are armed
  • Criteria in which they can use their weapons
  • Cost
  • Who's paying the bill

“The Mattis Touch”

The Washington Examiner explains How Mattis Turned Trump's Hasty Border Tweet Into Something Troops Can Salute.

Welcome to the world of Jim Mattis, the man whose job it is to turn President Trump's impulsive orders into something the military is happy to salute.

The latest edict: Trump’s order to send active-duty troops to the Mexico border to repel the coming “onslaught” of Central American refugees seeking asylum in the United States.

“Perhaps most importantly, these troops will be plastered all over the media. It shows the administration is doing something about this issue. And by sending in the military, it shows it is a top national priority,” he said. “This president gets that optics matter to the American people and his base. Sending troops means he is taking action — the biggest action he can.”

When Trump shocked the Pentagon with his plan to scrap “expensive war games” between the U.S. and South Korea, Mattis figured out that as long as they made a show of canceling major exercises with dangerous sounding names, regular training could go on unaffected safely under the radar of Trump and the North Koreans.

When Trump — impressed by the over-the-top Bastille Day parade he witnessed in Paris — ordered his own military extravaganza down Pennsylvania Avenue, Mattis saluted smartly and then gradually pared back while finding a way to link it to the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

It’s notable that no Pentagon officials would comment on the record for this report, out of fear that another account of how Mattis is managing could infuriate Trump and end Mattis' tenure as Defense secretary.

Already there are rumors that Trump is considering replacing Mattis after the midterm elections with someone more in line with his thinking.

Both Mattis and Trump have denied those rumors, yet another sign of Mattis' unique ability stay on the president’s good side, while saving him from his most capricious ideas.

Call it “The Mattis Touch.”

On Monday I commented Caravan of 5,000 Hondurans Flock Mexican Border Hoping to Get to the US

More waves have formed and some reports have the total at 14,000 or more headed to the US.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (43)
No. 1-17

As to the silly anonymous rumors published by the Washington Examiner -- one of the primary roles of the US military is to protect the US from invasion. Division-sized bodies of mainly military-aged males seeking to enter the US illegally certainly fits within the definition of 'invasion'. Posse comitatus is irrelevant in the face of external invasion.


He's working the caravan menace as hard as he can, but they are going to show up too late for the midterm elections. Mail-a-bombs and getting shot in church are going to be heavier on people's minds for a while.


well there was an attempt to change our arcane immigration law in June. many repubs voted no. how rights can be bestowed upon any one entering this country illegally (non citizen) is beyond me. "so catch and release" is still in play.


Unless Mexico STOPS this caravan and makes these migrants ask for asylum from Mexico or returns them back to Guatemala, Honduras etc. then ALL development aid USA gives to Mexico needs to be REMOVED, all funds transfers to Mexico need to be STOPPED (both from legal Mexican immigrants and illegal Mexican immigrants) and the US-Mexico needs to be made to a crawl and each Mexican crossing the border legally needs to be given a leaflet explaining that the border is a crawl BECAUSE Mexican government keeps allowing caravans of migrants and flows of migrants through Mexico to USA from Guatemala, Honduras etc..

Maybe Mexican government will wake up when 1 million irate and angry Mexicans whose life has been made harder complain to them to STOP allowing caravans of migrants and flows of migrants through Mexico to USA.

Right now USA should have already removed all development aid from Honduras and Guatemala and STOPPED all funds transfers from USA to Guatemala and Honduras.

Remember it is in Honduras and Guatemala's interest to allow Hondurans and Guatemalans come to USA since almost everyone getting to USA sends funds back to their family or relatives in Guatemala and Honduras so those countries economies benefit and gangs and corrupt politicians have more money to siphon off the more Guatemalan or Honduran migrants there are in USA.


Since a comment on this disappeared earlier, let me try again:

There is a choice out there:

  • either the US (uniquely among all nations) chooses to have open borders and eliminates all existing laws concerning immigration;
  • or the US chooses to eliminate the social safety net (Medicare, Social Security, etc) for all residents of the country.

For obvious reasons, it is unsustainable to have both open borders and social safety net programs. Just think about the millions of people in Bangladesh who would love to have the living standards even of Honduras, let alone the US.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether it is better to enforce existing laws against illegal immigration or to eliminate social safety net programs. In a functioning Republic, there could be reasoned informed debate, followed by votes in Congress about which way to go. It is a condemnation of our Political Class (including the sob sisters in the media) that such a debate and democratic vote is not even in consideration.