Washington, DC – US President Donald J. Trump on Wednesday (April 4) signed a proclamation for the deployment of National Guard troops along the long border with Mexico to stem the flow of illegal migrants. The presidential proclamation directed the Defense (DoD) andHomeland Security (DHS) departments to work with state governors to deploy National Guard troops to the southern border
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump said he wanted to use the military to secure the US border with Mexico, saying, “Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military.” Calling it a “big step,” Trump stressed, ”We really haven’t done that before, or certainly not very much before.”
However, every previous president since Ronald Reagan has deployed National Guard troops to support security along the US southern border. In the recent past, 6,000 were sent under President George W. Bush, and 1,200 under President Barack Obama.
National Guard troops can help in surveillance and other non-police actions but are forbidden to conduct civilian police actions, such as detaining suspects and using force, under a law first signed by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878.
DHS Secretary Nielson Briefs
On top of the daily press briefing at the White House on Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen told journalists that the troops would augment US Customs and Border Protection and provide support where needed to secure the border with Mexico.
Nielsen said, “Our current border security and immigration laws fail the American people. The system rewards bad behavior. It does not punish lawbreakers. It undermines our nation’s economic interests.”
She said the National Guard troops would be deployed as quickly as possible and gave no indication of how long the mission might last. Asked how many troops would be involved, Nielsen declined to give a number, saying, “As many as is needed to fill the gaps today.”
Nielsen said the deployment is aimed at filling the gaps in border security and stopping illegal activities that pose a threat to the country.
“We continue to see unacceptable levels of illegal drugs, dangerous gang activity, transnational criminal organizations and illegal immigration flow across our border,” she said.
Border security is national security, Nielsen said. “We do hope that the deployment begins immediately,” she said, adding the troops would support the mission in conjunction of the needs of the specific border state.
Pentagon Spokesperson White Notes DoD Support
Moreover, Chief Pentagon SpokespersonDana W. White highlighted DoD support for border security efforts. “We are working with the Department of Homeland Security to enhance the support we provide to the DHS border security mission,” White said. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with DHS to ensure the defense of our nation and security of the American people.”
The Defense Department has long supported DHS efforts to protect the nation’s borders, Nielsen said, including counternarcotics missions, infrastructure construction, persistent surveillance operations training and aerial support throughout the Western Hemisphere.