President Donald Trump’s planned militarization of the border could cost the North American country US$200 million by the end of 2018 for barely two months the 15,000 troops will be deployed, according to data by analysts and the Pentagon.
According to an analysis published by the Washington Post, the border deployment will only be a small fraction of the US$716 billion annual defense budget, but the Trump administration has already ordered to cut military expenses by about $33 billion due to the federal deficit.
To compare, US$200 million is the amount the U.S. decided to cut in aid to Palestinians in August to redirect it to “high-priority projects elsewhere.” It’s also the same amount the Trump Organization decided to pump into one of its controversial luxury golf course in Scotland, accused of being an environmental disaster. It’s also ten times the amount the U.S. offered Mexico in exchange for stopping the caravans of migrants that are finding their way to the border.
The quantity, the report says, court dramatically increase if troops remain at the border during 2019.
The U.S. has already deployed about 2,100 National Guard forces at the border and has spent US$103 million in keeping them there from April to September, according to the Pentagon’s own information.
Trump suggested on Thursday that the forces at the border could use lethal force against the migrants if confronted by rocks, which they should consider as firearms, but later retracted and said they would only arrest them.
Besides the official forces that will be at the border, voluntary anti-immigration groups are also protesting that the U.S. stop the caravan. Shannon McGauley, a private investigator and head of the Texas Minutemen civilian armed group, told Notimex he already summoned members of his organization to protect the border at three different points. The group, he says, won't fire or arrest anybody, but will monitor and help the border patrol.
As the midterm elections approach, the president has been increasing the number of troops that will be guarding the border by the time the caravan arrives.
“We have about 5,800. We’ll go up to anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 military personnel on top of Border Patrol, ICE and everybody else at the border,” Trump said. "These illegal caravans will not be allowed in the United States and should be turned around now," he said.