Border state governors are hailing Trump's move to deploy the National Guard in an effort to bolster the defence against illegal immigration and drug smuggling.
While he continues to lobby for the funds needed to build a formidable 722-mile wall along the US-Mexico border, President Donald Trump will call on the National Guard to patrol the border.
The troops — who will help U.S. Customs stop drug smuggling and illegal immigration — could be stationed on the border as early as Wednesday night (local time).
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Trump would sign the proclamation on Wednesday.
“The president has directed that the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security work together with our governors to deploy the National Guard to our southwest border to assist the Border Patrol,” Nielsen said at a White House news briefing.
“The president will be signing a proclamation to that effect today.”
A senior official at the briefing added: “We expect personnel to be on the border quickly but at this time we don’t have a date, but that will be coming soon.”
Securing the border has risen to the top of Trump’s agenda again in the last two days, after being a key pillar of his election campaign.
On Tuesday, he told reporters at the White House that “horrible” laws had left the border poorly protected, and he indicated then that a military move may be forthcoming.
WE WILL PROTECT OUR SOUTHERN BORDER! pic.twitter.com/Z7fqQKcnez
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 3, 2018
He followed that up on Wednesday with a tweet lamenting the inaction from Congress.
Our Border Laws are very weak while those of Mexico & Canada are very strong. Congress must change these Obama era, and other, laws NOW! The Democrats stand in our way – they want people to pour into our country unchecked….CRIME! We will be taking strong action today.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 4, 2018
Nielsen neglected to mention the number of soldiers that would be deployed or what the bill would be, but said it was necessary to address “this crisis at our borders”.
This is not a new strategy. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have turned to the National Guard to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support along the border over the last decade.
Border state governors welcome the deployment
Trump’s announcement has been applauded by Republican Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who said in a tweet, “Arizona welcomes the deployment of National Guard to the border.”
Arizona welcomes the deployment of National Guard to the border. Washington has ignored this issue for too long and help is needed. For Arizona, it’s all about public safety.
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) April 4, 2018
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, also a Republican, said in a statement: “Today’s action by the Trump administration reinforces Texas’ longstanding commitment to secure our southern border and uphold the Rule of Law, and I welcome the support.”
While a spokesperson for the California National Guard said it was working on the best way to assist its federal partners.
According to U.S. Border Patrol statistics, America’s border security over the last fiscal year was the tightest it has been in 46 years.
In the year ending September 30, 2017, there were 303,916 apprehensions of illegal immigrants, a huge improvement on the 415,816 reported in 2015-2016.
As for Trump’s flagship border wall campaign promise, he says he needs $20 billion over 10 years to make it happen, and neither Congress or the Mexican government have come to the party.