Arizona sends 225 National Guard troops to Mexico border, answering Donald Trump’s call
Arizona answers USPresident Donald Trump’s call for troops to fight drug trafficking and illegal immigration
Arizona is sending 225 members of the state’s National Guard to the US-Mexico border to support President Donald Trump’s call for troops to fight drug trafficking and illegal immigration, the state’s governor said on Monday.
More of the state’s Guard members will be deployed on Tuesday, said Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican.
The Arizona troops were being sent after Texas announced Friday that it would send 250 National Guard members and helicopters to the border.
Trump said last week that he wanted 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard members deployed to the border.
New Mexico’s Republican governor has said her state will take part in the operation, but no announcement has been made on deployment.
California Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, has not said if his state’s National Guard members will participate.
Trump has said he wants to use the military at the border until progress is made on his proposed border wall, which has mostly stalled in Congress.
Defence Secretary Jim Mattis last Friday approved paying for up to 4,000 National Guard personnel from the Pentagon budget through the end of September.
A Defence Department memo said the National Guard members would not perform law enforcement functions or “interact with migrants or other persons detained” without Mattis’s approval.
It said “arming will be limited to circumstances that might require self-defence” but did not further define that.
After plunging at the start of Trump’s presidency, the numbers of migrants apprehended at the southwestern border have started to rise in line with historical trends.
The Border Patrol said it caught around 50,000 people in March, more than three times the number in March 2017.
That has erased a decline for which Trump repeatedly took credit.
Border apprehensions still remain well below the numbers when former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama deployed the Guard to the border.