US border troops may be withdrawn despite swelling crowds of migrants

World Today

There are reports that U.S. troops along the border with Mexico may be heading home this week. More than 5800 troops were deployed to prevent what President Trump called “an invasion” by crowds of migrants. Thousands in caravans are still en route. Critics said the withdrawal would be proof the troops were not needed. CGTN’s Alasdair Baverstock has more.

At the U.S.-Mexico border, there’s word those extra American troops deployed to protect the frontier may soon be withdrawn. The U.S. website Politico quotes the commander of the border deployment as saying some forces could start pulling out this week, and all 5800 should be home by mid-December.

The move is somewhat surprising, since the troops were deployed to prevent the Central American migrant caravan from entering the U.S., and they’ll be leaving their posts just as the bulk of the caravan — more than five-thousand migrants — arrives in Tijuana. Trump had argued in the lead-up to U.S. midterm elections that the troops were needed to counter what he called “an invasion” by the migrants.

The troop announcement comes alongside a scoop reported by NBC news that the Trump administration has been spying on the caravan from within its ranks, using paid undercover agents, and monitoring WhatsApp messages sent from within the caravan.

In Mexico, the party of President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has submitted a bill to Congress that would establish a new Mexican national guard of 50,000 members, selected from the top national security forces, aimed at tackling worsening violence in the country. The move would require a constitutional amendment, but given AMLO’s majority in Congress, getting the bill approved isn’t expected to be a problem for the new leader.

Gang violence has cost more than 170,000 lives since 2006, and the new security force would be dedicated to combating organized crime. But NGOs, including Amnesty International, have reacted negatively to the idea, expressing concerns that the militaristic policy would only worsen the violence.