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Thread: Troops install razor wire at Arizona border ports in anticipation of migrant caravan

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    Troops install razor wire at Arizona border ports in anticipation of migrant caravan

    Troops install barbed wire at Arizona border ports in anticipation of migrant caravan

    USA TODAY NETWORK Rafael Carranza, Arizona Republic Published 10:26 p.m. ET Nov. 7, 2018 | Updated 10:26 p.m. ET Nov. 7, 2018


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    Troops install barbed wire at Nogales border ports
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    A U.S. Army vehicle is parked Nov. 7, 2018, in front of the border fence in downtown Nogales. Troops deployed to the Arizona border installed the barbed wire atop the fence in anticipation of the potential arrival of a migrant caravan. Rafael Carranza/The Republic


    Rafael Carranza/The Republic
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    (Photo: Rafael Carranza/The Republic)


    NOGALES, Ariz. — U.S. Army troops deployed to the Arizona border began fortifying the Nogales ports of entry this week in anticipation of the potential arrival of a migrant caravan moving northbound through Mexico.

    Active-duty soldiers began installing
    concertina wire in Nogales on Tuesday, as the midterm elections were underway.

    They're working under the command of the 16th Military Police Brigade, which deployed several days ago from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.


    The troops are part of the rebranded
    Operation Secure Line – formerly known as Operation Faithful Patriot – a 7,000-strong deployment to the Southwestern U.S. border authorized last month at the request of President Donald Trump's administration.

    The Trump administration issued the request in response to reports of a large migrant caravan making it's way to the U.S. border to claim asylum.


    The caravan has been advancing at a slow pace, while dwindling in numbers. The migrants are now in Mexico City, roughly 600 miles from the south Texas border and more than 1,300 miles from Nogales.

    U.S. Army soldiers deployed to the Arizona border string barbed wire atop the Morley pedestrian crossing in downtown Nogales on Nov. 7, 2018. (Photo: Rafael Carranza/The Republic)


    Soldiers installed the barbed wire on top of the border fencing at the DeConcini port of entry in downtown Nogales and expanded it to the nearby pedestrian crossing.

    It's unclear how far east and west of the crossing they will add the wire and whether they'll do the same for the Mariposa crossing and other ports of entry along the Arizona border.


    U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Arizona told The Arizona Republic they were unable to disclose that information, but added that senior military leadership from U.S. Northern Command, which is overseeing the operation, would hold a press event in Nogales on Friday to provide more details.


    Several military leaders, including Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, commanding general of the U.S. Army North, Col. Larry Dewey, commander of the 16th Military Police Brigade, and Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of U.S. NorthCom, visited and toured Nogales on Wednesday, ahead of Friday's press conference.


    Local leaders and residents in Nogales roundly criticized the barbed-wire installation at the ports of entry. They described the deployment as a "political ploy" and a waste of resources.


    "Concertina wire has no place in the community," Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce Bracker said Wednesday.


    He pointed to severe, chronic staffing shortages at Arizona's ports of entry as a greater security threat to border communities like Nogales.


    "If the federal government wants to do something to secure the border at the ports of entry ... they can give us the staffing that we should have," Bracker added.

    A U.S. Army vehicle is parked Nov. 7, 2018, in front of the border fence in downtown Nogales. Troops deployed to the Arizona border installed the barbed wire atop the fence in anticipation of the potential arrival of a migrant caravan. (Photo: Rafael Carranza/The Republic)


    Longtime Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada, a vocal opponent of Trump's immigration and border policies, said the president was misusing the military for political gain.

    "Spending all of this money, all of this effort, in which is obviously a political ploy, is uncalled for," he said. "Utilizing the U.S. military police is overreach. This is not a war zone."


    Customs and Border Protection previously has tried to install barbed wire on top of the Nogales border fence in 2013, but they backtracked amid heavy criticism from local residents and leaders.


    Estrada criticized the lack of input from the community this time around and likened the decision to fortify the border without consulting them as an invasion.


    "It's unfortunate that they don't take local officials into account, that we're not part of the discussion, that we're not part of the dialogue," he said. "When the federal government does that, they're actually invading our community without telling us, with all due respect to the military."

    Residents from the twin cities, known colloquially as Ambos Nogales, appeared split over the military deployment and the installation of the barbed wire at the border.


    More: What Democratic takeover of House means for Trump’s immigration agenda


    More: Migrant caravan, with no promised buses, trudges onward through Veracruz


    On one hand, residents and shoppers from Nogales, Sonora, who are already familiarized with Trump's hostile rhetoric on the border, said they don't mind so long as it doesn't affect their ability to cross back and forth.


    "I don't see it as a bad thing," Mexican shopper Patricia Aviles told The Arizona Republic as she walked past the soldiers installing concertina wire at the Morley crossing on Wednesday. "They're defending their own border ... and we're not doing anything wrong, It doesn't affect us."


    Juana Castro, another shopper from Mexico said the increased military presence did not bother her either. "They're doing their job and we cross to shop, so there's no issue," she said.


    But some Arizona residents, such as brothers Manuel and Juan Mejia, who live in nearby Elgin, saw the military deployment as a waste of money and a waste of soldiers' time.


    "I think it's a bunch of bullcrap because they have a bunch of law enforcement, a lot of agencies, and they're bringing (the military)? It's bullcrap," Manuel said as he walked past soldiers in downtown Nogales.


    His brother Juan chimed in, adding that he didn't understand why Trump had sent in the military, especially when the migrant caravan wasn't even close to the border yet.


    "Why do have the Statue of Liberty?" he asked. "It's to welcome people in. Why is he doing all this ... ? I don't think he's a very good president."


    Last week, troops deployed to south Texas, the busiest transit corridor along the U.S.-Mexico border, installed concertina wire at ports of entry there and along the banks of the Rio Grande, which forms the natural barrier at the Texas-Mexico border.


    To date, 5,400 troops, out of the 7,000 planned, have been deployed to the Southwestern border, according to Northern Command. About 1,400 of them are in Arizona and are based at the Davis Monthan base in Tucson and Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...ts/1926691002/

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