TAPACHULA, Mexico – Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is sending 800 or more troops to the southern border. That comes after President Trump says he’s “bringing out the military” to address what he’s calling a national emergency at the border as the massive migrant caravan approaches.

Additional troops would provide logistical support to border patrol agents, including vehicles, tents and equipment. There are currently about 2,000 National Guard troops already at the border.

The migrant caravan headed here to the US is starting to weaken as some tired, hungry, and sick travelers are deciding to return home. But roughly 5,000 people are pressing on.

Some are asking questions about who is in the caravan, so CBN News asked our contributing correspondent Chuck Holton to check it out. He caught up with the caravan in the Mexican city of Tapachula.

“I want to try and clarify some of what you’ve been hearing in the news media about this caravan moving north into the United States. First of all, the people in this caravan are not being paid to join the caravan. Their payoff comes when they get to the US,” Holton said.

Holton spoke to numerous people in the caravan who said they joined the trek because they saw advertising for it on social media or heard about it on the news. He says the caravan has been organized by opposition political elements within Honduras who are supported by Venezuela, as well as a consortium of left-wing pro-immigration groups.

“They are however being facilitated and enabled by groups like the UN, by groups like other NGOs and by church groups who are feeding them and providing them support on their journey north,” he said.

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“Now the other questions have been: ‘Are there felons, are there bad guys in this group?’ And I can tell you it didn’t take me long to find four or five right away who are absolute felons who are coming north to try to get back into the United States,” Holton discovered.

A Honduran migrant named Freddy was one of several people who told us they’ve been deported from the US four times. “Sure I’ve visited,” he said. “Sometimes two months, sometimes a month. I was imprisoned there in the detention center.”

People are also asking about whether or not there are so-called “exotics” in the caravan – people who are not from Central America. Holton went into a restaurant where he quickly found a young man from Somalia, which is in eastern Africa.

The Somali migrant spoke to CBN News in English, saying he was heading to the US in a few days. “We want to take some rest, you know. We are tired, been on the road,” he said.

The Somali man revealed he began his journey north from Brazil. Holton also spoke with others from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Eritrea and Pakistan who are joining the caravan to the US.

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Meanwhile, some people are saying the trip is too difficult and are deciding to head home. “I found two people like that yesterday and actually helped them get back to the border of Guatemala,” Holton said.  

A Honduran migrant named Judy said, “It was really hard, there are lots of people in the group, some good, some bad. While we were all sleeping together someone took my phone. I decided to go back because of my daughter. Carrying her while we walked, I became so tired, and the sun and everything affected us both a lot.”

“My dream has always been to go to the United States because it’s so beautiful, to work and improve the lives of me and my family, and more than anything to give my daughter a better future,” Judy said.

“A lot more people would probably choose to go back home if it wasn’t being made easier to get to the United States by a lot of well-meaning groups who are helping these migrants,” Holton said. “And we can know one thing for sure and that’s that there will be a lot more caravans behind this one because everybody is ready to take advantage of the infrastructure being created by this caravan. And so we have to think hard about how we are going to help these people but also help ourselves.”

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Christmas decorating has always been a great challenge for me, and sometimes my family teases me about being “the grinch” and there’s always a story or two about how I’ve taken down the tree on Christmas Day, while there were still guests in the house. I love Christmas. But we have always had a very small home – going from 1000 square feet to 800, and in the dead of cold, long, dark winter in Alaska, with the kids trapped inside, it gets even smaller. I feel claustrophobic with just the toys not put away, or if there is a project going on on the dining room table.

So I always keep my Christmas decorating to a minimum, and only have it out for about a week. The other great challenge with Christmas decorating is we live 350 miles from a Target. There is some shopping about 100 miles away, but with a one year old having to ride four hours in a car seat, trips to “town” are rare, and so full of necessities like doctor appointments, business needs and grocery shopping that I rarely just get a chance to shop for things like clothing or home decor. This is the big reason why I do so much DIY.

This year, my Holiday mantle is true to who I am right now – simple and DIY.

In a small space, wall decorating is your best option.  A few fun holiday pillow covers bounce the Holiday spirit around the room, and is just the right amount of Christmas decorating for our small space.

It was the Joy sign that made everything come together for me this Holiday season.  It is of course DIY.

For tools I used my Ryobi AirStrike Crown Stapler with 1″ long staples.  A brad nailer or even screws or a hammer and nails would do the trick too.

Whenver you use nails or staples, make sure you use glue.

I had some leftover strips of 1/2″ plywood that were 8″ wide and about 40″ long.  I simply glued and stapled to some 1x2s on the back.  If you don’t have leftover plywood, anything from cedar fence pickets to new plywood ripped into strips 8″ wide to a full plank of plywood would do the trick.  At this point, I was just using scraps to create an economical canvas for me to work on.

The plywood was reclaimed from some other project, and had this gray tint to it.  A gray wash paint treatment or gray stain would give you a similar look on new plywood.

I used a 1×2 to create my J and Y letters, leaving a 1x2s width around the outside, and then the letters themselves are 1×2 width wide.  The I just painted inside the letters with white paint.  

Then I just added a nail and hung a wreath on the nail (wreath is from Home Depot). My little niece helped out and was quite proud of the finished project too.

I love it, and hope you do too!

Want more Holiday Mantel inspiration?

Jen Woodhouse hosted an amazing blogger mantel tour this year – check out all the mantels below!

I’m so proud and humbled to be a part of this blog tour this year.  Aren’t they all just beautiful and inspiring?

Well, like you, today is going to be a busy one, with last minute gifts to wrap and a family Christmas party, so I better get to it.  

PS – Don’t forget to pin this wood Joy sign for next year!

Photograph by Jim Watson / AFP / Getty

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Donald J. Trump warned on Wednesday that a caravan of Democratic women was heading toward Washington, D.C., with the explicit goal of invading the nation’s capital.

Speaking at a press conference at the White House, Trump acknowledged that he had failed in his bid to stop the caravan, which is on schedule to arrive in Washington on January 3, 2019.

“The Democrats are responsible for sending this caravan, and, frankly, it’s a disgrace,” he said. “They are sending some dangerous women.”

Elaborating on the threat posed by the caravan, Trump said, “Some of these women have fought in wars. They have fired guns. One of them is a mixed-martial-arts specialist. These are women who will kick your ass without hesitating.”

Trump denied that he was irresponsibly stoking fears about the caravan of females. “Every Republican in Washington should be scared shitless of these women,” he said. “I know I am.”


How to Write a New Yorker Cartoon Caption: Jon Hamm Edition

The actor, who stars in the movie “Bad Times at the El Royale,” tries his hand at our cartoon-caption contest.

Satire from The Borowitz Report

Scott Walker had been an employee of Koch Industries since 2010 until he was unceremoniously dismissed.

Satire from The Borowitz Report

“Maybe if Facebook and Twitter hadn’t banned so many of my fake accounts, the results would have been different,” Putin said.

Annals of Medicine

Why doctors hate their computers.

The Current

As technology advances, we’ll have good reason to grow more skeptical about the videos we see. At the same time, we will struggle to make use of that skepticism.

Delish: Eat Like Every Day’s the Weekend

My family has never been the type to wake up on Christmas morning and sit around in our matching pajamas, but that might change this year. Taco Bell just released its holiday collection, and I’m pretty sure hot sauce packet onesies are something everyone in the fam can get behind.

Taco Bell teamed up with Tipsy Elves, and the duo (that already made T-Bell friendsgiving sweaters) created all kinds of fun taco-themed gifts fit for any Taco Bell fanatic. There are three onesie options: Fire Sauce, Hot Sauce, and Mild Sauce, and each has a hood. Imagine lounging around the fireplace with your family (or friends) wearing hot sauce-inspired onesies.

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Taco Bell

Each onesie has a ~spicy~ message printed on the back. Fire Sauce says, “I KNEW I WAS YOUR FAVORITE”. The Hot Sauce onesie has “I’M SPICY, DEAL WITH IT” on the back, and Mild says, “GOOD CHOICE.”

There are several sweaters and shirts in the collection, as well. One sweater features Santa on a taco-led sleigh. Another has the chain’s iconic bell and a border of tacos around it. The t-shirts have festive puns such as, “‘Tis the season to be saucy”.

The online shop includes two pairs of socks, which would be the perfect small gift or stocking stuffer for your T-Bell obsessed bestie. One pair has hot sauce in the shape of holiday lights!

Taco Bell

The rest of the collection has home accessories, including a throw and a hot sauce packet pillow, which says: “I can’t let you go.” You and your crew can lounge around and sip hot cocoa from a Taco Bell mug (there’s four varieties).

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Whether it’s a comfy sweater or pajama pants, any Taco Bell gift will be the main attraction at your White Elephant party or gift exchange. I would definitely trade my gift for hot sauce packet p.j. shorts, or a pair of Taco Bell socks. Wouldn’t you?!

There is many a way to ruin Christmas. A college-aged child could slam nine egg-nogs and pick that day to (aggressively) tell their mom that they don’t believe in God anymore. An uncle could decide that the dinner table is the best place to lay out his thoughts on America as an ethnostate. A grandparent could declare that noted hater of no one, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, hates homosexuals. You could barf in church from a Christmas Eve hangover. So many options!

Let’s go ahead and add being given a Mac and Cheese flavored candy cane to the list. We should maybe even put it at the top of the list because this is trash. The flavor is obviously a stunt, but the candy cane’s maker Archie McPhee sells it with a straight face on their website along with rotisserie chicken candy canes.

Macaroni and Cheese Candy Canes are a particular favorite of picky eaters. These candy canes taste like your childhood favorite — mac and cheese. It’s like comfort food-flavored comfort food! Macaroni and cheese has become a holiday family tradition in many parts of the country, so why not let our holiday candy reflect that?

No one wants this. No one. I don’t want my candy to taste like mac n cheese any more than I want my cheese to taste like a grape popsicle. If I want cheese I’ll eat cheese. This just strikes me as another case of science doing something without considering whether or not it should. This abomination is the Jurassic Park of Christmas treats.

The candy promotes its cheesy flavoring for cheese lovers everywhere. But that’s not all, Archie McPhee has released more gag-worthy flavors for the holiday season. If you like seafood try out Clamdy Canes. Meat lover? The bacon candy canes are more your style. And above all, the pickle candy canes will never lose traction on social media.

The one upside to the mac and cheese candy cane is to use it for a prank. An older brother could easily trick his younger brother into eating this garbage, causing the latter to gag in disgust while the former squeals with laughter. “Hey Billy, try this lemon flavored candy cane!” That’s all this is good for.

Write it on your wish list and ask Santa this year to bring you some Christmas Candy that tastes like he just pulled it from out of his pants. Let’s just be thankful you’re not getting coal candy canes this year.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, said Sunday that caravan migrants seeking asylum should be able to enter the country immediately, challenging President Trump’s efforts to keep them in Mexico while their cases are processed.

“That’s not the law. They should be allowed to come in, seek asylum. That’s the law,” Mr. Cummings said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Asked if he would support changing the law, the Maryland Democrat said, “No.”

Mr. Trump is seeking a deal with Mexico in which the thousands of asylum-seeking migrants massing on the southern border would remain there until their applications are approved, insisting he will close the border if necessary.

Mr. Cummings said he disagreed with the effort.

“I think we have a system that has worked for a long time,” the Maryland Democrat said. “This president’s come in, wants to change it. That’s up to him. But now the Congress has got to stand up, and hopefully they will.”

Mr. Cummings, who is expected to take over the committee in January, was also asked if he thought what Mr. Trump was doing was constitutional.

“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see.”

EXCLUSIVE: @RepCummings says he does not support a potential deal where asylum-seekers coming through Mexico would stay in Mexico until their court date in the United States. #MTP

Cummings: “That’s not the law. They should be allowed to come in, seek asylum, that’s the law.” pic.twitter.com/nAsKKCLM3f

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