The migrant caravan that is making its way through Mexico to the U.S. border is different from other caravans in the past, according to Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy.
O’Shaughnessy, who is overseeing the military’s response to the caravan, told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday, “This caravan is different from what we’ve seen in the past.”
“What we have seen,” he said, “is we’ve seen clearly an organization at a higher level than we’ve seen before.”
O’Shaughnessy continued, “We’ve seen violence coming out of the caravan and we’ve seen as they’ve passed other international borders, we’ve seen them behave in a nature that has not been what we’ve seen in the past.”
On Tuesday, two Hondurans from the caravan were arrested after firing at Mexican police officers in the state of Chiapas, according to Breitbart News.
On Monday, a second caravan farther south had a confrontation with Mexican police at the country’s border with Guatemala after Mexican authorities had warned that migrants in the second caravan were arming themselves with guns and Molotov cocktails. One man was killed, though the circumstances were unclear.
While O’Shaughnessy confirmed that over 5,200 troops are being sent to the border, he said that the number of troops could grow.
“I can tell you 5,239 is not the top line,” he said. “I say anyone who gives you a number right now is uninformed because we don’t have that number…”
“What I can confirm is that there will be additional force over and above the 5,239,” he said.
O’Shaughnessy told reporters that while there are about 1,000 troops stationed in Texas right now, the number is expected to increase by an additional 800 as troops continue to move in.
When asked about the troops’ interactions with migrants, the general told reporters that Customs and Border Protection is the agency responsible for dealing directly with those entering the country illegally.
The troops sent to the border, he explained, will be trained on how to respond if they happen to encounter migrants.
“They’re going to understand the rules for that interaction and they’ll be consistent with CBP,” he said.
— Kristina Wongoween 🎃 (@kristina_wong) October 30, 2018
As O’Shaughnessy was wrapping up the briefing, a reporter asked the general if sending troops to the border was a “political stunt out of the elections.”
“I would say that I firmly believe that border security is national security,” O’Shaughnessy responded. “And with that in mind that we are in support of Secretary Nielsen in her efforts to secure the border.”
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