President Trump recently sent thousands of armed active duty troops to the southern border to wait for a group of desperate unarmed migrants who are making their way from Central America, through Mexico, towards the United States. The president has characterized the asylum seekers as a migrant “caravan,” and sent the troops, saying that they might even fire on migrants if they threw rocks at them.
The soldiers are awaiting the migrants despite the fact that they pose little to no threat to national security. The president sent troops just ahead of the midterms in what many observers and veterans groups widely criticized as a purely political move designed to stoke fears ahead of the 2018 midterm election.
Now those thousands of troops who were deployed for the president’s political gains will likely miss Thanksgiving, waiting for the “caravan.” Troops who are stationed at Base Camp Donna are currently waiting in sparse conditions. The camp is located between a freeway and the border wall separating Texas from Mexico. There is next to no access to electricity, soldiers take turns charging their various devices.
Showers in the camp were only installed last week. Soldiers can only take a 7-minute shower to preserve water. There is no air conditioning in the troops’ tents, despite the intense heat. According to The New York Times, soldiers wait for the coming refugees by playing cards and trying to make the camp liveable. They do not have a mess hall so the soldiers are forced to eat packaged meals, without access to hot foods.
According to Politico, troops are now shoveling horse manure and performing menial tasks, far away from the actual border.
“In reality, the hundreds of troops deployed in southern Arizona are keeping up the rear, so to speak; in one assignment, soldiers are actually feeding and shoveling out manure from the stalls of the Border Patrol’s horses.”
The soldiers’ orders will not expire until December 15. That means the troops will not be home to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted about the deployment writing, “Deploying troops to our own border for no national security reason is one of the biggest scandals of this Presidency. These dedicated, skilled, highly trained men and women will likely miss Thanksgiving w family, are near American cities but eating MREs. Let them go home.”
Deploying troops to our own border for no national security reason is one of the biggest scandals of this Presidency. These dedicated, skilled, highly trained men and women will likely miss Thanksgiving w family, are near American cities but eating MREs. Let them go home.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) November 11, 2018