Troops headed for the US-Mexico border aren't just aiming to help prevent migrant entry—they have unregulated militias and criminal organizations on their minds, too. According to planning documents obtained by Newsweek, the Department of Defense is aware of nearly 200 armed militias already operating along the southwest border. "Reported incidents of unregulated militias stealing National Guard equipment during deployments," reads an intelligence assessment for the Pentagon by the Joint Force Land Component Commander Threat Working Group. "They operate under the guise of citizen patrols supporting CBP [Customs and Border Protection] primarily between POEs [Points of Entry]." The documents analyze four points of entry including one in Brownsville, Texas, and another in the San Ysidro district of San Diego, Calif.
The assessment jibes with media reports that militia members are already heading for the border, the Washington Post reports. They include the Texas Minutemen, who apparently have 100 armed volunteers going to the Rio Grande. "I can’t put a number on it," says Shannon McGauley, who leads the group. "My phone’s been ringing nonstop for the last seven days." Meanwhile, members of another group—the Patriots of the Constitution militia—arrived last week in Columbus, New Mexico, per the Albuquerque Journal. Yet the military planners expect the migrant caravan to reduce in size and contain "no terrorist infiltration," per the documents. They also say the migrants could trigger a "balloon effect" on smuggling if traffickers take advantage of the diversion. (While providing troops, the Pentagon refused one request from Trump.)