Trump’s Political Stunt Sending Troops To Mexican Border Cost $72 Million

Trump’s Political Stunt Sending Troops To Mexican Border Cost $72 Million

Donald Trump’s midterm election campaign stunt of sending nearly 6,000 troops to the Mexican border in order to whip up more anti-immigrant frenzy will apparently cost the American taxpayer $72 million.

For nothing.

From Think Progress:

In the lead-up to the election, Trump insisted that the caravan of migrants traveling to the United States from Central America constituted some sort of “invasion.” Though the group of refugees fleeing violence and persecution bear all the attributes of a humanitarian crisis, Trump repeatedly insisted without evidence that the caravan was full of violent criminals and even terrorists.

To double down on his bluff, Trump deployed 5,000 active duty military personnel to the border weeks before the midterm elections, though that figure ended up topping out at about 5,900 troops.The exact purpose of their deployment remains a mystery, one to which Democrats in Congress are demanding answers.

This “misuse of active duty personnel” was widely panned as a political stunt designed to gin up fears to try to influence and energize Republican voters who are typically susceptible to this kind of fear mongering.

About half the troops are in Southern Texas, far from the Tijuana border into California where the caravan is set to arrive. Furthermore, the law prevents active duty personnel from arresting, detaining, deporting, or otherwise policing any of the migrants on US soil, so they’re only providing auxiliary support to the border agents who can.

As soon as the election was over, coverage of the caravan — particularly on Fox News and Fox Business — nearly vanished. Two weeks later, the caravan is still lingering in southern Mexico, and has even shrunk in size as some of its members have sought asylum in Mexico rather than continue to the U.S. border.

Though the majority of the caravan was not set to arrive until December, the military operation is set to end December 15. Some troops are already coming home, with everyone expected to be home by Christmas.

In related news, a federal judge based in San Francisco temporarily blocked the government late Monday night from denying asylum to those crossing over the southern border between ports of entry.

From CNN:

Judge Jon S. Tigar of the US District Court for the Northern District of California said that a policy announced November 9 barring asylum for immigrants who enter outside a legal check point ‘”irreconcilably conflicts” with immigration law and the “expressed intent of Congress.”

“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar wrote, adding that asylum seekers would be put at “increased risk of violence and other harms at the border” if the administration’s rule is allowed to go into effect.