More than 700 additional National Guard troops will be sent to the U.S.-Mexico border to better deter illegal immigration and better enforce federal immigration laws.
The troops were a response from the Pentagon after a Homeland Security Department requested the additional support. As Washington Examiner reports, the 736 additional troops are expected to work alongside the “U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working by air, sea, and remote land regions.”
The additional personnel will join more than 1,100 currently stationed troops across the Southwest border states of California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.
Approximately 1,100 guardsmen are stationed across the Border Patrol’s nine sectors along the U.S.-Mexico border as of Friday. That number will soon surpass 1,800 — just half of the 4,000 total troops President Trump approved of sending in early April.
This latest Request For Assistance is the third one since the beginning of April. It was sent to the Defense Department in recent days, and states “this request is specifically for the Office of Field Operations, Air and Marine Operations, and the Office on Intelligence.”
The first RFA that DHS submitted to the Pentagon in April outlined the support it needed to help CBP as a whole. The second, sent in early May, dealt with specific Border Patrol needs since the agency is under CBP.
President Trump seems to be focusing more on border security this year than he did during his first year in office. Also, he recently promised he would not be signing a potential immigration bill without funding for a border wall or heightened security:
President @realDonaldTrump on potential immigration bill: “Unless it includes a wall…and unless it includes very strong border security, there will be no approvals from me.” pic.twitter.com/Obbt1MKyzy
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“Guardsmen will assist the field office with motor transport operations or vehicle maintenance and repair transport, nonintrusive ground operations, cargo dock support, camera operations, and observing points of entry,” reports the Washington Examiner.
“The intelligence office will get additional watch clerks, report writers, information requirements managers, and watch support all-source analysts,” the report added.
As Fox News reports, the president of a U.S. Border Patrol union said Trump’s decision to send the additional troops along the border “is the right decision,” although he specified that “Obama holdovers” are preventing the National Guard members from impacting border security.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 28, 2018
Per Fox News:
“We have seen no benefit,” said Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The comments were a marked departure for the union, which represents approximately 15,000 agents. The group endorsed Trump during his run for the presidency and previously voiced support for his border policies.
Earlier this week, for example, Judd defended Trump’s decision to call MS-13 gang members “animals,” telling Fox News that “they’re worse than animals, in my opinion.”
“While the National Guard deployment has not yet reached full capacity, it has clearly and unquestionably been a success with thousands of additional apprehensions and millions of dollars of drugs kept out of our country,” Katie Waldman, a Homeland Security spokeswoman, told the Los Angeles Times. “The third request for assistance to deploy additional Guardsmen in support of the mission to secure the southern border was recently authorized and is being implemented. More help is on the way.”