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Captain says US military does not view Central American migrants as ‘enemies’

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A captain with the U.S. forces deployed in San Diego to fortify the southern border said he does not view the migrants from a Central American caravan amassing in Mexico as “enemies” after President Donald Trump described them as an “invasion.”

“I don’t consider them a military enemy, nor does the United States military doing this job. They’re simply migrants in a caravan moving towards the United States to seek a better way of life and asylum,” Army Captain Guster Cunningham III told Reuters on Thursday.

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“The military is not classifying them as the enemy in any way, shape or form,” said Cunningham, who is the spokesman for the Special Purpose Marine Ground- Air Taskforce 7.

Trump’s politically charged decision to send troops to the border with Mexico came ahead of U.S. congressional elections last week. He was seeking to strengthen border security as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration.

The number of U.S. troops at the border with Mexico may have peaked at about 5,800, the U.S. commander of the mission told Reuters, noting he would start looking next week at whether to begin sending forces home or perhaps shifting some to new border positions.

The Pentagon says there are no plans for U.S. forces to interact with migrants and that they had been carrying out support tasks for U.S. Customs and Border (CBP), such as stringing up concertina wire and building temporary housing for themselves and CBP personnel.

“As far as us being confronted with migrants, the possibility still remains zero because that’s not our job. Our job again is to fortify the fence and enable CBP to do their enforcement job,” Cunningham said.

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Up to 1,000 migrants linked to the caravans have arrived in the Mexican border city of Tijuana in recent days, with a similar number expected to arrive in the next few days. Thousands more could then arrive in border towns as the bulk of the caravans arrive.

Many of the migrants in the caravans, which include women and children, say they are fleeing gang violence and poverty. However. Trump suggested, without providing proof, the caravans could be hiding extremists.

Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Paul Tait

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ABC News had the goods on Jeffrey Epstein years ago — and killed the story

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Multimillionaire predator Jeffrey Epstein died in suspicious circumstances at a Manhattan correctional facility on Aug. 10. The wealthy and powerful New York financier, a convicted sex offender, stands accused by dozens of women and girls of trafficking, rape and sexual abuse. He was an enormously influential and well-connected man who counted as friends billionaire business ownersHollywood starsBritish royals, and even top media figures like Katie Couric and Charlie Rose — with some of his associates falling under suspicion of condoning or even participating in a pedophile ring.

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Child killed as quake strikes southern Philippines

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A powerful earthquake hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on Sunday, killing a child, injuring dozens and damaging buildings in an area still recovering from a string of deadly quakes in October.

Police said a rescue operation had been launched at a heavily damaged market building in Padada near the 6.8 magnitude quake's epicentre, which is about 90 kilometres (55 miles) south of the major city of Davao.

Patients were evacuated from hospitals as a precaution and nervous crowds massed outside shopping malls after the jolt and dozens of smaller, but strong aftershocks.

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50 bodies unearthed from Mexican mass grave

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The bodies of at least 50 people have been unearthed from a mass grave at a farm outside Mexico's western city of Guadalajara, local authorities said.

The grim site was discovered just over three weeks ago in Jalisco -- a state hard-hit by violence linked to organized crime.

The local prosecutor's office said Saturday 13 of the dead -- 12 men and a woman -- have been identified and the remains given to their families.

The process of identifying more of the victims and how they died will continue, it added.

A mass grave with 34 bodies was discovered in a suburb of Guadalajara on September 3, while another was found nearby in May with the remains of 30 people.

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