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UPDATE: Trump To Sign Proclamation Sending National Guard Units To U.S.-Mexico Border

Abbott praised the Trump administration’s decision, while stressing that Texas has “maintained a continuous presence of National Guard members along the border” for years

Governor Rick Perry gives a pep talk to National Guard troops training for deployment to the Texas border at Camp Swift on August 13, 2014.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday announced the National Guard will once again be deployed to the country’s southern border in an effort to stop illegal immigration into the country.

The announcement by DHS officials comes after President Donald Trump said this week he was deploying military units to the area because Congress, and especially Democrats, have refused to act on the border security.

In a news release, the DHS said it will coordinate with governors in an effort “designed to support ongoing efforts to mitigate the crisis on our border. The deployment will support federal law enforcement personnel, including Customs and Border Protection”

“Federal immigration authorities will direct enforcement efforts,” the release adds. “The deployment’s duration will be determined by Congressional efforts to secure our southern border.”

Trump’s two predecessors, Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama, both temporarily deployed guard troops to the border during their tenures. Bush sent about 6,000 national guard troops there in 2006. Obama sent 1,200 guard troops in 2010.

A member of the National Guard checks on his colleague inside a Border Patrol Skybox near the U.S.-Mexico border in Hidalgo, Texas, in this 2011 photo. President Trump is calling for troops on the southern border, something the past five presidents have all done on a limited basis.

In 2014, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry deployed state guard units as well after tens of thousands of migrants from Central America began crossing illegally into Texas, mainly in the Rio Grande Valley. That was followed by Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to keep a deployment on the border.

In a statement, Abbott praised the Trump administration’s decision, while stressing that Texas has “maintained a continuous presence of National Guard members along the border” for years.

“Today’s action by the Trump Administration reinforces Texas’ longstanding commitment to secure our southern border and uphold the Rule of Law, and I welcome the support,” Abbott said. “Going forward, Texas will continue to implement robust border security efforts, and this partnership will help ensure we are doing everything we can to stem the flow of illegal immigration.”

During a conference call with reporters, administration officials who spoke on background were scant on details about the deployment but said those were being worked out, including whether the guard members would be armed, where they will be stationed and how many units will enter in to the project.

In previous deployments, the National Guard units took a secondary role and would only assist other state and federal authorities. 

The administration officials also said that, at the same time details of the latest deployment are being finalized, the White House would continue pushing legislative proposals to ban so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions, the common term for entities that don’t enforce immigration laws or cooperate with federal authorities. 

In tweets earlier this week, Trump said a deployment was necessary until a wall was completed on the southern border.

Texas Democrats blasted the proposal as ill-advised at little more than a political stunt. 

“Trump’s deployment of the National Guard to our border communities is unjustified, irresponsible, and dangerous,” state Rep. César Blanco, D-El Paso, said in a statement. “In 2017, apprehensions for illegal border crossing hit a 46-year low — a 23.4% drop from 2016. 

“This President is out of touch with reality and has consistently demonstrated his disregard for our border communities and Latinos. Demonizing and militarizing our border only hurts our local communities, families, and economy.”

On the call, administration officials said that soon-to-be released data related to illegal border crossings during the month of March will show a “staggering” increase that will help illustrate the need for the deployment.

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, chairman of the House homeland panel, calls the move “a positive step toward providing the safety this nation has long demanded” on the border.

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, chairman of the Senate homeland panel, also backs Trump’s action and says he is working with the administration to fix the “broken” immigration system and close legal loopholes that encourage illegal immigration.

Johnson says the president and Congress have a duty to protect American citizens and secure the border.

Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico denounced the plan as “another pitiful attempt to distract attention from the dangerous chaos” Trump has created.

Mexican senators are urging President Enrique Pena Nieto to temporarily suspend cooperation with the U.S. on immigration and security issues, responding to angry tweets from President Donald Trump about their country.

The nonbinding statement was approved unanimously Wednesday. It asks Mexico’s government to freeze joint efforts “in the fight against transnational organized crime” until Trump acts “with the civility and respect that the people of Mexico deserve.”

The senators condemn the “baseless and offensive comments about Mexico and Mexicans,” reject efforts to militarize the countries’ shared border and ask the U.S. Congress to insist the president deal with Mexico “on the basis of respect and collaboration.”

Pena Nieto told reporters his government is waiting for clarifications about U.S. intentions to send troops to the border before presenting a “very clear” position on the issue.

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