National Guard Arrives at US-Mexico Border
National Guard members have started arriving at the US-Mexico border with more expected as federal government officials continue to discuss what they will do about illegal immigration.
The Republican Governors of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico on Monday committed 1,600 Guard members to the border, giving US President Donald Trump many of the troops he requested to fight what he has called a crisis of migrant crossings and crime.
The only holdout border state was California, led by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who has not announced whether troops from his state’s National Guard will participate and has repeatedly fought with President Trump over immigration policy.
Gov. Brown’s spokesman, said California officials still are reviewing President Trump’s troop request.
Under the federal law President Trump invoked in his proclamation calling for National Guard troops, governors who send troops retain command and control over their state’s Guard members and the US government bears the cost.
President Trump said last week he wants to send 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard members to the border, issuing a proclamation citing “the lawlessness that continues at our southern border.”
The Trump Administration officials have said that rising numbers of people being caught at the southern border, while in line with seasonal trends in recent years, require an immediate response.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey told a group of soldiers preparing to deploy from a Phoenix military base that their “mission is about providing manpower and resources” to support agencies on the border and denied that there was a political motive.
“I don’t think this is a partisan issue or an identity issue,” he said. “You show me somebody who is for drug cartels or human trafficking or this ammunition that’s coming over a wide-open and unprotected border here.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told San Antonio radio station KTSA that he would add about 300 troops a week until the total number reaches at least 1,000 troops.
Some Guard members will be armed if they are placed in potential danger, Gov. Abbott said, adding he wanted to downplay speculation that “our National Guard is showing up with military bayonets trying to take on anybody that’s coming across the border, because that is not their role.”
There is no end date for the deployment, Gov. Abbott said: “We may be in this for the long haul.”
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s office said that more than 80 troops would deploy later this week. They will be the 1st of an expected 250 Guard members from New Mexico to serve on the border.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R), offered to send members of his state’s Guard as well. South Carolina sent troops to the border during Operation Jump Start, the border deployment ordered by Bush in Y 2006.
President Trump has said he wants to use the military at the border until progress is made on his proposed border wall. Defense Secretary James Mattis last Friday approved paying for up to 4,000 National Guard personnel from the Pentagon budget through the end of September.
Mexico’s foreign relations secretary said his government is evaluating its cooperation with the United States.
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