The Pentagon is planning to begin a drawdown of the 5,800 active-duty troops sent to the US-Mexico border ahead of the midterm elections to confront a group of migrant refugees escaping rampant poverty and violence in Central America.
Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan told Politico on Monday that the military personnel deployed by President Trump to assist Customs and Border Protection at the U.S.-Mexico border should be home by Christmas.
“Our end date right now is 15 December, and I’ve got no indications from anybody that we’ll go beyond that,” said Buchanan, who is overseeing the mission from Texas.
Buchanan said engineer and logistics troops will begin returning home soon.
Critics of the president, including former President Barack Obama, have called his troop deployment to the border a “political stunt” that has wasted resources and manpower.
Obama ripped apart Trump’s suggestion that “the biggest threat to America — the biggest threat! — is some impoverished refugees a thousand miles away.”
Before Election Day, the president stoked fears over an approaching group of migrants he called “the caravan.” He referred to the group as an “invasion” and even warned that he would authorize U.S. military personnel to open fire on them if they threw rocks.
Trump told reporters late last month that he wouldn’t be surprised if Billionaire philanthropist George Soros was funding migrants traveling in a caravan that was still nearly a thousand miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border at the time.
Cesar Sayoc, the Florida Trump supporter suspected of mailing more than a dozen bombs to people and organizations President Trump has criticized, appeared to be obsessed with Soros, mentioning him dozens of times on one of his Twitter accounts and even mailing him one of the explosive devices, according to the Washington Post.
On Oct. 31, Trump vowed to deploy as many as “15,000” service members to the US southern border to confront migrants.