Border Duty: 4,000 Guardsmen Authorized for Mission

NGAUS Washington Report
April 10, 2018

The governors of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas pledged Monday to send a total of 1,600 National Guardsmen to the border between the United States and Mexico, according to news reports. President Donald Trump has asked for military support along the border to stem what he says is an increasing wave of migrants arriving illegally in this country.

“My administration has no choice but to act,” he wrote in a proclamation last week.

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis authorized up to 4,000 Guard members to take part in the operation under Title 32 authority, which is federally funded, but state controlled, through Sept. 30, but the mission’s duration has not been determined.
Trump said last week, “Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military.”

Guardsmen began arriving on the border over the weekend. Their mission will include surveillance through drones and helicopters, road and infrastructure maintenance and clearing vegetation. They will not arrest migrants or carry weapons except when duties include potential danger.

Tom Bossert, the White House homeland security adviser, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” that a sudden rise in border apprehensions indicates a reversal in what has been a steady drop of apprehensions in recent years. Apprehensions provide a measure of how many people are crossing the border.

“We’ve got a leaking boat on our border, and we’re all quibbling with how much water’s in the boat,” he said. “What we’re doing is taking action now at the appropriate time instead of waiting as others have in the past.”

President George W. Bush sent up to 6,000 troops to the border for Operation Jump Start that began in 2006. President Barack Obama deployed up to 1,200 Guardsmen as part of Operation Phalanx from July 2010 to September 2011.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has not responded to Trump’s call for troops. The Democratic governor is said to be weighing his options. Governors in states across the nation, as well as territories, can offer their Guardsmen for the mission.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, said Monday he is deploying 225 troops, adding, “I don’t think this is a partisan issue or an identity issue. You show me somebody who is for drug cartels or human trafficking or this ammunition that is coming over a wide-open and unprotected border here.”

Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, a Republican, will send 80 troops this week, according to Military Times, and eventually will put 250 Guardsmen on the border.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told a radio station in San Antonio that he will send 300 troops a week until the total reaches at least 1,000.

“We may be in this for the long haul,” the Republican said.