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Trump orders National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border

President Donald Trump will sign a proclamation directing agencies to deploy the National Guard to the southwest bord...

Posted: Apr 5, 2018 10:26 AM
Updated: Apr 5, 2018 10:26 AM

President Donald Trump will sign a proclamation directing agencies to deploy the National Guard to the southwest border, Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced Wednesday.

But key details like the numbers of troops, how long they will be deployed, how much it will cost and where they will go are all still being finalized.

"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," Nielsen said at the White House.

The formal move follows days of public fuming by Trump about immigration policy, during which he has tweeted about immigration legislation in Congress, a caravan of migrants making its way through Mexico and what he calls weak border laws.

But border crossing numbers have been historically low, and a study from DHS last fall determined the border was at its most secure and most impervious to illegal immigration point in history.

Nielsen cited a historic uptick in border crossings in spring months like April and advertising from smuggling groups, calling it in part "anticipating."

"Why not yesterday and tomorrow? Today is the day we want to start this process," Nielsen said. "The threat is real, as I mentioned."

In a call with reporters, a senior administration official said soon-to-be-released data from the number of attempted border crossings in March will be "a staggering increase from last year" -- though numbers in March 2017 were at essentially the lowest point in the past 20 years.

Details in flux

Nielsen said troops could be sent to the border as soon as Wednesday night.

"It does mean that," Nielsen said when asked about how quickly this could be implemented. "It also means we will do it in conjunction with the governors."

But the senior administration official said the memorandums of understanding are still being negotiated among the DHS, Department of Defense, National Guard Bureau and relevant governors.

"We expect personnel to be on the border quickly, but at this time we don't have a date. That will be coming soon," the official said. The DHS has not asked for specific numbers but rather presented the National Guard with the "mission" that Customs and Border Protection would need support on, leaving it up to the Guard to determine what kind of deployment would meet that goal.

Nielsen added that she didn't want to "get ahead" of the state governors who will have a heavy say in the deployment of troops, but said it would be similar to past such efforts.

"It will be strong. It will be as many as needed to fill the gaps today," she said.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted, "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."

Trump 'frustrated'

Asked if the move Wednesday came because of something the President saw on TV -- a reference to his ire about the migrant caravan after it was covered on Fox News -- Nielsen demurred.

"I think what's true is the President is frustrated. He's been very clear he wants to secure the border," Nielsen said. "I think what you're seeing is the President taking his job very seriously."

Since the passage of the government spending package for the year -- which included $1.6 billion for border security but only a few dozen miles of new border barrier construction and a nearly equal amount of replacement fencing -- Trump has been critical of Congress for denying him more money.

Trump privately floated the idea of funding construction of a southern border wall through the US military budget in conversations with advisers, two sources confirmed to CNN last week -- a plan that faces likely insurmountable obstacles in Congress.

Nielsen spent a large portion of her time at the White House podium criticizing Congress, saying it had failed to pass meaningful immigration laws or give the DHS the authorities it has asked for, some of which would amount to dramatic changes to US law that could have implications in the courts and international law.

Previous troop deployments

Sending National Guard troops to the border is not unprecedented. Both of Trump's predecessors also did so, though the moves were criticized as costly and of limited effectiveness.

US law limits what the troops can do. Federal law prohibits the military from being used to enforce laws, meaning troops cannot actually participate in immigration enforcement. In the past, they've served in support roles like training, construction and intelligence gathering.

From 2006 to 2008, President George W. Bush deployed 6,000 guardsmen to southern border states, costing $1.2 billion and assisting with 11.7% of total apprehensions at the border and 9.4% of marijuana seized in that time.

From 2010 to 2012, President Barack Obama sent 1,200 guardsmen to the border to the tune of more than $110 million, and they assisted with 5.9% of the total apprehensions and 2.6% of the marijuana seizures on the border.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319115

Reported Deaths: 7353
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22246264
Hinds20612421
Harrison18342316
Rankin13855282
Jackson13666248
Madison10213224
Lee10050176
Jones8452167
Forrest7810153
Lauderdale7253242
Lowndes6488149
Lamar632288
Lafayette6295120
Washington5412136
Bolivar4833133
Panola4659110
Oktibbeha465898
Pearl River4591146
Marshall4571105
Warren4436121
Pontotoc424573
Union415576
Monroe4154135
Neshoba4059179
Lincoln4007111
Hancock385187
Leflore3514125
Tate342386
Sunflower339391
Pike3366110
Alcorn323272
Scott319274
Yazoo313971
Adams304785
Itawamba304777
Copiah299666
Coahoma298283
Simpson297889
Tippah291168
Prentiss283361
Leake271674
Marion271280
Covington266683
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George251851
Newton248563
Tishomingo230867
Winston229881
Jasper222048
Attala214973
Chickasaw210459
Holmes190374
Clay187454
Stone187233
Tallahatchie179941
Clarke178980
Calhoun173732
Yalobusha167740
Smith164034
Walthall135147
Greene131633
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee127934
Perry126638
Amite125942
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Tunica107927
Jefferson Davis107633
Claiborne102930
Benton102225
Humphreys97533
Kemper96628
Franklin84923
Quitman81816
Choctaw79018
Wilkinson69332
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50817
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 547323

Reported Deaths: 11266
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson808021563
Mobile41925826
Madison35600522
Tuscaloosa26136458
Shelby25554254
Montgomery25067610
Baldwin21774313
Lee16234175
Calhoun14692325
Morgan14614285
Etowah14132361
Marshall12443230
Houston10748287
Elmore10295212
Limestone10180157
St. Clair10146250
Cullman9921200
Lauderdale9582248
DeKalb8955189
Talladega8441184
Walker7318279
Autauga7215113
Blount6925139
Jackson6900113
Colbert6394139
Coffee5616126
Dale4928114
Russell454441
Chilton4461116
Franklin430683
Covington4263122
Tallapoosa4117154
Escambia400280
Chambers3715123
Dallas3604156
Clarke352861
Marion3231106
Pike313978
Lawrence3121100
Winston283372
Bibb267364
Geneva256981
Marengo250565
Pickens236562
Barbour234559
Hale226578
Butler223371
Fayette217162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph186844
Monroe179141
Washington170339
Macon163051
Clay159559
Crenshaw155057
Cleburne152543
Lamar145837
Lowndes141953
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh112930
Coosa111129
Perry108726
Sumter105732
Greene93434
Choctaw61725
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