When I was young, I had a very black-and-white idea of what the Soviet Union was. Borders guarded by uniformed soldiers with machine guns keeping outsiders at bay, as well as their own citizens in captivity. And that is what they were.

Today I learned that President Trump is deploying 5,200 armed soldiers to guard our Southern border. There is a caravan of about 3,500 immigrants walking from Guatemala at a pace of about 20 miles a day. At this pace, they could arrive at our border in approximately two months — if they all survive the journey.

Right-wing media and Trump are claiming that this is a massive human invasion of our country, and that these invaders have diseases, such as smallpox and leprosy. The last known case of smallpox was in 1977. The World Health Organization declared the disease eradicated in 1980 — 38 years ago.

Leprosy is a biblical disease that, according to the WHO, currently has a rate of about 10 cases in 10,000 people globally, but the mere mention of it strikes fear in the hearts of the uninformed. At that rate, there would be less than one case of leprosy in this group.

Video accounts on the news show this coming "human invasion" to be made up of mostly women and children sleeping on the ground and dragging trash bags with their belongings through the sands of Mexico. This is not a journey that could possibly be attempted by someone ill with leprosy or smallpox.

And yet our president is sending 5,200 troops to join 2,000 already stationed at the border, which amounts to about 2.5 soldiers with guns aimed at every single woman and child begging to cross our border.

This is a shameful abuse and misuse of our troops and a serious misappropriation of our funds, all to pull off a political stunt six days before an election. But worse, it smacks of that vision of the Soviet Union that we must not allow our country to become.

Mary Sharpe, Lady Lake