US citizens bearing arms and gear are preparing to reinforce the US southern border, along with the Border Patrol and the National Guard, in order to stop the caravan of illegal migrants from crossing into the US.
Right now, it is unclear how many militia members will arrive at the border to face the first caravan, which is currently estimated to include some 4,000 people — mostly citizens of Honduras — who seek to enter the US in order to improve their economic situation.
The caravan is currently located some 1,000 miles from the border and estimated to be more than a week from arriving there.
Three activists told reporters that they were going to the border in order to organize other soon to arrive volunteers. They also disclosed that concerned groups on Facebook have urged people to mobilize in the face of the migrant caravans.
It is "imperative that we have boots on the ground," one such post reads. "WAR! SECURE THE BORDER NOW!" another one reads.
The militias are expected to bring guns and tactical gear, such as bulletproof vests.
Shannon McGauley, president of the Texas Minuteman militia, said he has members at three points of the state's border already and expects 25 to 100 more people to arrive in the coming days.
"They're just laughing in our face," McGauley commented on the caravan. "It's a free-for-all in America."
People from other states have raised money to assist the militias with supplies and equipment. Monica Marin, an Oregon resident, said she has raised about $4,000 online to help militias buy supplies.
"I see young, fighting-age men who do not look like they're starving. They look like they're ready to fight," Marin said. "We're trained. We're not hotheads. We're not out there to shoot people."
On Friday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis authorized dispatching of 800 US troops to reinforce the 2,000 National Guard staff already located at the border to address the caravan issue.