U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet Thursday that Arizona “is bracing for a massive surge” of immigrants along a portion of the U.S. southern border that does not have a protective fence, and reiterated his call for Democrats to back funding for his proposed border wall.
“Arizona, together with our Military and Border Patrol, is bracing for a massive surge at a NON-WALLED area. WE WILL NOT LET THEM THROUGH,” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.
The post seems to be referencing a statement issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which states that the department conducted a joint, large-scale “operational readiness” exercise at the Port of Nogales, DeConcini Crossing on Arizona’s border on Dec. 4.
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The statement says that the exercises were in preparation for potential large crowds and “assaultive” behaviour by caravan members.
“They included tactical operations with the use of role players and inert smoke to simulate real world environments,” the statement reads. “This training will allow our officers to respond tactically should a situation arise.”
According to the Pentagon, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has approved plans to extend the deployment of active-duty U.S. troops at the Mexico border until Jan. 31.
The extension was requested by the Department of Homeland Security and involves military forces that will install and repair wire barriers and provide security and transportation for border patrol agents. The troops are spread across California, Arizona and Texas.
U.S. Border Patrol arrests on the Mexican border jumped 78 per cent in November from a year earlier to the highest level in Donald Trump’s presidency.
The Border Patrol made 25,172 arrests of people who came as families in November, nearly four times the same period last year, said parent agency Customs and Border Protection. There were 5,283 arrests of unaccompanied children, up 33 per cent from a year earlier.
Overall, the Border Patrol made 51,856 arrests on the Mexican border last month, up from 51,001 — or one per cent — in October, and up from 29,085 in the same period of 2017. It was the fourth straight month-to-month increase.
— With files from the Associated Press.