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'Show of force': 100 vehicles line one mile of Texas border to deter caravan on other side

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 2/10/2019 Anna Giaritelli
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EAGLE PASS, TEXAS — The Trump administration has flooded the Texas border town that sits just over the river from the Mexican city where 1,800 caravan migrants arrived earlier this week with hundreds of law enforcement personnel. 

More than 100 U.S. police vehicles lined a one-mile stretch of the Rio Grande River in Eagle Pass, Texas, Saturday afternoon. Sixty sat together in one section of the river on a local golf course.

The massive "show of force” — as Border Patrol is calling it — is meant to deter Central Americans from illegally entering the country, as large groups attempted in San Diego, Calif., last November and again on New Year’s Eve.

"To me, it’s like showing force. It would give a message to the immigrants that want to come illegally through Texas that Texas is always prepared and have a lot of manpower at the border — that they would go to another state," said Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber told the Washington Examiner.

Dozens of pickup trucks, SUVs, and cars belonging to Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol, and state troopers within the Texas Department of Public Safety were lined up on the edge of the Eagle Pass Golf Course.

Schmerber said 500 Department of Public Safety personnel have been moved to Eagle Pass. That figure does not include the Border Patrol that came from other regions of the state.

Military troops, including active-duty, National Guard, and Texas State Guard, were also spotted on the golf course. An additional 250 are expected to arrive in the coming days.

The Rio Grande River separates both countries there, and due to the landscape, portions of the border do not have a physical barrier, making it easier for people to try to enter the U.S.

A Texas highway patrol officer told the Washington Examiner no one had attempted to cross the river and illegally enter the U.S. from Mexico on Saturday as of 5 p.m. local time.

Slideshow by photo services

Last Monday, a group of nearly 2,000 people arrived on buses in Piedras Negras, Coahuila. The group has overwhelmingly remained in Mexico in the face of a surge of U.S. forces to the border.

Meanwhile, American, Mexican, and Central American officials are in talks about how to handle this new caravan, one of a few in the past year.

But for personnel already on the ground, sitting and waiting in their cars at the border, it's not clear when the action will start and when the surge of staff will end.

Schmerber said the length of the deployments will depend on whether caravan members try to illegally enter the U.S. or not and that law enforcement does not have any idea when they will be able to go home.

"We don't have a date, number, a month or whatever," he said.

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