Armed militia groups are heading to the border to assist border enforcement officers as a migrant caravan winds its way through Mexico on its way to the U.S.
“We’ll observe and report, and offer aid in any way we can,” Shannon McGauley, a bail bondsman in the Dallas suburbs who is president of the Texas Minutemen, told the Washington Post newspaper. “We’ve proved ourselves before, and we’ll prove ourselves again."
McGauley said his group, which includes about 100 volunteers, would head to the river that divides the state of Texas from Mexico in the coming days.
“I can’t put a number on it,” McGauley said. “My phone’s been ringing nonstop for the last seven days. You got other militias, and husbands and wives, people coming from Oregon, Indiana. We’ve even got two from Canada.”
The militia is motivated by U.S. President Donald Trump who has claimed without offering evidence that a migrant caravan bound for the U.S. includes "unknown Middle Easterners," and violent criminals among its groups of women and children.
Many of those in the caravan are fleeing extreme poverty and gang violence in Central America.
Trump has already ordered the U.S. military to the border to bolster enforcement efforts, despite the fact that the caravan of about 4,000 people is, at best, weeks from the border. Previous caravans have fizzled out on the arduous path to the U.S. with many individuals stopping short of the border.
There are at least two other smaller caravans behind the first.
The Post cited military planning documents obtained by Newsweek which said the Pentagon is concerned at the prospect of “unregulated militia members self-deploying to the border in alleged support” of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
That assessment estimates that some 200 militia members could head to the border.
McGauley said his group is bringing night vision googles, aerial drones capable of thermal vision, camping gear and weapons.