On Thursday, soldiers from the the 89th Military Police Brigade, and 41st Engineering Company, 19th Engineering Battalion, Fort Riley, KS., arrived at Valley International Airport, Harlingen, TX, photos from Defense Media confirmed.
The troops are at the border city to conduct the first missions under Operation Faithful Patriot.
The soldiers will serve a similar role to National Guard Troops currently deployed to the southern border under Operation Guardian Support. The troop are tasked with planning assistance and engineering roles to help the Department of Homeland Security including Border Patrol.
The photos released by DVIDS (Defense Visual Information Distribution Service) comes after President Trump announced up to 15,000 troops could be send to the southern border. On Thursday, Trump suggested the U.S. Military could fire at someone in the caravan if rocks were thrown, “they’re throwing rocks viciously and violently. You saw that three days ago, really hurting the military. We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military. Our military fights back. We’re going to consider it. I told them to ‘consider it a rifle.’ When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military police. I say consider it a rifle.”
Rock throwing is nothing new to Border Patrol agents, According to CPB data, in 2017, agents saw a 73% increase in border assaults. However, the numbers are “grossly inflated” and the number of assaults is exaggerated by including the number of objects used in the assaults.
The troops are in Congressman Filemon Vela’s District which also borders the northern city of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Vela calls the troop deployment a distraction from President Trump’s hate-speech, which has been criticized as fuel in the deadliest anti-Semitic killing in U.S. history and the mail bombs delivered to Trump’s most vocal critics, “One could argue that it would make sense to have American Military presence if it were the sole purpose of humanitarian-medical relief.” Vela said.
The troops arrival comes as the migrant caravan is in the state of Oaxaca, more than 800 miles away from the nearest port of entry.