Tuesday, September 29, 2020

US to deploy 1,600 National Guard soldiers at US-Mexico border

A view of a US border control patrol from the Mexican border in Tijuana, Mexico, 05 April 2018. US President Donald Trump announced he plans to send between 2,000 and 4,000 soldiers to the border with Mexico a day after ordering his Government the deployment at the area to fight illegal immigration. EFE

Washington DC, Apr 9 (EFE).- The United States will deploy some 1,600 National Guard soldiers to its border with Mexico in compliance with the executive order of the US president to curb irregular immigration in the region, three border region state governors announced Monday.

The National Guard is a reserve corps of the United States Armed Forces which remains under the control of the states, so its deployment depends on the governors of each state.

The governor of Texas, Republican Greg Abbott, who already sent 250 members of the National Guard to the border on the weekend, announced Monday that he will increase the number to 1,000 in the coming weeks.

For his part, the governor of Arizona, Republican Doug Ducey, on Monday ordered an initial deployment of 225 National Guard troops to Arizona’s border area, and another 113 were set to arrive on Tuesday, for a total number of 338.

The governor of New Mexico Susana Martinez, also Republican, pledged to deploy 80 national guards later this week, which is an initial deployment of the total 250 personnel planned to be dispatched to New Mexico’s border area.

The level of collaboration of California, the fourth state that shares the border with Mexico, still remains unknown as Democratic leaders in the Golden State have strongly opposed Trump’s immigration policies.

Texas, New Mexico and Arizona will initially mobilize some 1,600 troops as part of Trump’s decision to provide military support to the US Border Patrol in order to tackle the increase in irregular immigration.

Trump said last week he wanted to send between 2,000 and 4,000 troops to protect the border, while the Pentagon authorized the use of the higher limit of that range on Apr. 6.

The United States and Mexico share a 3,111-kilometer long border stretching from east to west, passing four US states: Texas (1,997 km), New Mexico (289 km), Arizona (599 km) and California (226 km).

Trump’s decision to reinforce the US Border Patrol with military personnel came earlier in April, when he learned that a caravan with hundreds of Central American immigrants was traveling through Mexico towards the United States.

US law prohibits the use of the military for national security and law enforcement purposes, so the National Guard will have a limited role at the border and will not be able to detain immigrants arriving in the border area.

According to the US Customs and Border Protection, the National Guard could only provide support for border patrol agents in certain areas such as “aerial detection, transportation, repairing the border wall and logistical support.”

Trump is not the first US president to send soldiers to the US-Mexico border. In 2006, George W. Bush once sent some 6,000 military personnel to the border, while Barack Obama in 2010 deployed some 1,200 members of the National Guard in the area.