President Donald Trump praised the new barbed wire fencing being installed by U.S. troops along the U.S.-Mexico border at a campaign rally in Montana on Saturday, the New York Post reported.
“I noticed all that beautiful barbed wire going up today,” the president said, drawing some excitement from the crowd. “Barbed wire, used properly, can be a beautiful sight.”
According to the Defense Department, the soldiers worked with the U.S. Customs and Border patrol officers to lay about 1,000 feet of barbed wire fencing along the Texas side of the Rio Grande river. The “makeshift barrier” was installed underneath the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge, which crosses into Mexico. The bridge is located about 250 miles south of San Antonio in the small town of Hidalgo.
In an email to the New York Post, a Border Patrol spokesman called the wire fencing installations “necessary preparations” for the migrant caravans that are currently heading north through Mexico, made up of approximately 7,000 immigrants, whom the president claimed during his speech were “vicious” and “very tough young people” that “hurt Mexican military very badly.”
“It’s all preparation in anticipation of the caravan,” Manuel Padilla, Jr., sector chief of the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley, said to CBS News.“We’re hoping that these people do not show up at the border. They’re not going to be allowed in.”
TRUMP: “Barbed wire used properly can be a beautiful sight." pic.twitter.com/BFuc3ljwfo
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) November 3, 2018
After his comments at the rally, many Twitter users were quick to point out that barbed wire has not historically been considered “beautiful,” nor were the reasons behind its installation in the past.
— Facts Do Matter (@WilDonnelly) November 3, 2018
President Trump began deploying troops to the border on October 26 as part of Operation Faithful Patriot, vowing they would “block the caravans” from entering onto U.S. soil and, according to CBS News, should react to rock-throwing from them “as though the rocks were rifles.”
While he originally ordered 5,000 troops to be deployed, he boosted the number on Wednesday from anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000. Roughly 900 troops deployed last week have arrived to the border so far, the New York Post reported.
Our military is being mobilized at the Southern Border. Many more troops coming. We will NOT let these Caravans, which are also made up of some very bad thugs and gang members, into the U.S. Our Border is sacred, must come in legally. TURN AROUND!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
Residents along the border have begun questioning the need for military presence, fearing it will “tarnish the area’s image,” CBS News reported. Others are afraid of the potential violence that will result if and when the caravan of migrants reach the border.
“My worry is that if they fight each other, there might be innocent people in the way that are suffering consequences,” Conchita Padilla, a resident of the border town of Brownsville, Texas, said. “We are just praying that they go in peace.”