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Central American Migrants Are Not Your Enemy

Donald Trump is sending thousands of troops to the southern border to confront the migrant caravan. Here, in a joint statement, two antiwar veterans call on US soldiers to defy their commander in chief's deployment order.

A caravan of migrants moves north after crossing the border from Honduras on October 15 in Esquipulas, Guatemala. John Moore / Getty

To All Active Duty Soldiers:

Your commander in chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern US border should you be called to do so.

Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving north towards the US are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women — with families just like yours and ours — are fleeing their homes is because of the US’s meddling in their countries. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive leader.

These extremely poor and vulnerable people are desperate for peace. Who among us would walk a thousand miles with only the clothes on our back without great cause? The odds are good that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. lived similar experiences. Your family members came to the US to seek a better life. Some fled violence. Consider this as you are asked to confront these unarmed men, women, and children from Central America. To do so would be the ultimate hypocrisy.

The US is the richest country in the world, in part because it has exploited countries in Latin America for decades. If you treat people from these countries like criminals, as Trump hopes you will, you will only contribute to the legacy of pillage and plunder beneath our southern border. We need to confront this history together. Above all else, we cannot turn these people away at our door.

By every moral or ethical standard, it is your duty to refuse orders to “defend” the US from these migrants. History will look kindly upon you if you do. There are thousands, if not millions, of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down.

Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone. It is much harder to punish the many than the few.

In solidarity,

Rory Fanning
Former US Army Ranger, War-Resister

Spenser Rapone
Former US Army Ranger and Infantry Officer, War-Resister