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UPDATE: Trump Wants To Send Up To 4,000 Troops To Border

Trump said he plans to keep the guard members there until a “large portion of the wall is built”

  • In this Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, aerial file photo, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agent looks out along the Rio Grande on the Texas-Mexico border in Rio Grande City, Texas. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday, April 4, 2018, that President Donald Trump and border-state governors are working to “immediately” deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
    In this Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, aerial file photo, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agent looks out along the Rio Grande on the Texas-Mexico border in Rio Grande City, Texas. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday, April 4, 2018, that President Donald Trump and border-state governors are working to “immediately” deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
  • 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.
 (Photo Credit: DELCIA LOPEZ / AP)
    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. (Photo Credit: DELCIA LOPEZ / AP)
  • Border Patrol Agent Robert Dominguez.

 (Photo Credit: Spencer Selvidge/ Texas Tribune )
    Border Patrol Agent Robert Dominguez. (Photo Credit: Spencer Selvidge/ Texas Tribune )
  • 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. (Photo Credit: Bob Daemmrich )
    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. (Photo Credit: Bob Daemmrich )
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a statement Sunday that was thin on details about what happened, saying the two agents "were responding to activity" while on patrol near Interstate 10 in the area of Van Horn, which is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the border with Mexico and about 110 miles (175 kilometers) southeast of El Paso. (Photo Credit: Photo via Twitter @BigGator5)
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a statement Sunday that was thin on details about what happened, saying the two agents "were responding to activity" while on patrol near Interstate 10 in the area of Van Horn, which is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the border with Mexico and about 110 miles (175 kilometers) southeast of El Paso. (Photo Credit: Photo via Twitter @BigGator5)
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a statement Sunday that was thin on details about what happened, saying the two agents "were responding to activity" while on patrol near Interstate 10 in the area of Van Horn, which is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the border with Mexico and about 110 miles (175 kilometers) southeast of El Paso. (Photo Credit: Photo via Twitter Cato Institute @CatoInstitute)
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a statement Sunday that was thin on details about what happened, saying the two agents "were responding to activity" while on patrol near Interstate 10 in the area of Van Horn, which is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the border with Mexico and about 110 miles (175 kilometers) southeast of El Paso. (Photo Credit: Photo via Twitter Cato Institute @CatoInstitute)
  • At sunset, a Customs and Border Patrol agent places floodlights along a levee that ties into a segment of border fence in Hidalgo, Texas.
 (Photo Credit:  Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune)
    At sunset, a Customs and Border Patrol agent places floodlights along a levee that ties into a segment of border fence in Hidalgo, Texas. (Photo Credit: Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune)
  • BorderPatrolCar (Photo Credit:  Josh Denmark)
    BorderPatrolCar (Photo Credit: Josh Denmark)

The Latest on the upcoming deployment of the National Guard to the U.S. border with Mexico following President Donald Trump’s deployment proclamation (all times local):

2:09 p.m.

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he wants to send 2,000 and 4,000 National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border to help federal officials fight illegal immigration and drug trafficking, but it wasn’t clear who would be called up or if they would even be allowed to carry guns.

Trump’s comments to reporters on Air Force One were his first estimate on guard levels he believes are needed for border protection. It would be a lower number of troops than the 6,400 National Guard members that former President George Bush sent to the border between 2006 and 2008.

Trump said his administration is looking into the cost of sending the troops to the border and added “we’ll probably keep them or a large portion of them until the wall is built.”

Former President George W. Bush sent 6,400 National Guard members to the border between 2006 and 2008.

They performed support duties aimed at freeing up federal agents to focus on border security.

___

Official signals guard may offer supporting role

1:55 p.m.

A U.S. official said the National Guard‘s arrival on the Mexican border would put more Border Patrol agents on the “front lines.”

Ronald Vitiello, U.S. Customs and Border Protection‘s acting deputy commissioner, told Fox News that the guard would replace agents who are not doing “enforcement work.”

He wasn’t more specific, but Border Patrol agents are often assigned to process arrests, manage short-term detention facilities and perform other administrative and support work.

Vitiello said guard members will be in jobs that do not require law enforcement work, an apparent reference to being on patrol and making arrests.

He cautions against immediate deployment. He said the Pentagon has work to do with state governments, and Customs and Border Protection needs to deliver a complete list of what it wants.

___

Oregon won’t send troops to border with Mexico

12:15 p.m.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says she won’t let National Guard troops from her state be stationed at the Mexican border if President Donald Trump requests them.

Brown is a Democrat and in a Tweet Wednesday said she was “deeply troubled by Trump’s plan to militarize our border.”

Trump this week said the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border had reached “a point of crisis” in his proclamation directing National Guard deployment to the southern border.

Brown is a frequent Trump critic. She says Oregon hasn’t been contacted by federal officials about border troop deployment.

___

11:55 a.m.

California Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration says it needs answers from President Trump’s administration before deciding whether to commit National Guard troops to help protect the border with Mexico.

That includes where money for the deployment would come from, how long it would last, and if there are clearly definable objectives.

The Democratic governor’s decision is a big unknown after other border state Republican governors welcomed the Guard’s deployment.

California has opposed most of Trump’s policies and Trump’s administration is suing over three state immigration laws.

Brown’s administration pointed Thursday to a California National Guard statement saying it’s promptly reviewing the request, as it did similar federal requests for staffing in 2006 and 2010.

The California National Guard already has 55 members helping fight drug trafficking on the southern border.

___

The Trump administration hasn’t determined how many troops it will seek to have deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border.

That’s according to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. She said: “We’re going to be sending as many troops as we need.”

President Donald Trump has signed a memo clearing the way for the deployment of National Guard troops to the border. Ultimately, it will be up to the four border-state governors to finalize the numbers and precise timing.

Nielsen said the administration wants the National Guard’s help providing surveillance along the border and maintenance for border patrol vehicles and aircraft to free up law enforcement assets for securing the border.

Nielsen said she’ll be speaking again Thursday with California Gov. Jerry Brown about earning his support for the deployment.

Asserting the situation had reached “a point of crisis,” President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a proclamation directing the deployment of the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration.

“The lawlessness that continues at our southern border is fundamentally incompatible with the safety, security, and sovereignty of the American people,” Trump wrote in a memo authorizing the move, adding that his administration had “no choice but to act.”

The announcement came hours after Trump pledged “strong action today” on immigration and a day after he said he announced he wanted to use the military to secure the southern border until his long-promised, stalled border wall is erected.

The Mexican foreign ministry said U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has told Mexico’s top diplomat that U.S. National Guard troops being deployed to the border “will not carry arms or carry out migration or customs control activities.”

Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray is in Washington on a visit. A foreign ministry statement issued Wednesday night said Nielsen told Videgaray that the troops will only be providing support for Department of Homeland Security work.

It said the deployment will be similar to ones in 2006 under President George Bush and in 2010 with President Barack Obama.

Trump signed a proclamation earlier Wednesday ordering the secretary of defense to support the Department of Homeland Security in securing the southern border to stop the flow of drugs and migrants.

Trump has been frustrated by slow action on building his “big, beautiful wall” along the Mexican border — the signature promise of his campaign — as well as a recent uptick in illegal border crossings, which had plunged during the early months of his presidency, giving Trump an accomplishment to point to when he had few.

Federal law prohibits the use of active-duty service members for law enforcement inside the U.S., unless specifically authorized by Congress. But over the past 12 years, presidents have twice sent National Guard troops to the border to bolster security and assist with surveillance and other support.

Nielsen said the effort would be similar to a 2006 operation in which President George W. Bush deployed troops to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel with non-law enforcement duties while additional border agents were hired and trained. President Barack Obama also sent about 1,200 troops in 2010 to beef up efforts against drug smuggling and illegal immigration.

Nielsen said her department had developed a list of locations where it would like assistance on things like aerial surveillance and other support, and was discussing with the governors how to facilitate the plans. She declined to say how many personnel would be needed or how much the operation would cost, but she insisted, “It will be as many as is needed to fill the gaps that we have today.”

One congressional aide said that lawmakers anticipate 300 to 1,200 troops will be deployed and that the cost was expected to be at least $60 million to $120 million a year. The Pentagon would probably need authorization from Congress for any funding beyond a few months, said the aide, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Under the mechanism the administration is looking to use, the Guard would not be mobilized as a federal force. Instead, governors would control the Guard within their states.

Governors of the four U.S. states bordering Mexico were largely supportive of the move. The office of California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat who has sparred with Trump on immigration issues, said any federal request would be promptly reviewed to determine how the state could best offer its assistance.

The Mexican foreign ministry said Nielsen told Mexico’s top diplomat that troops deployed to the border “will not carry arms or carry out migration or customs control activities.”

Senators in Mexico urged President Enrique Pena Nieto to temporarily suspend cooperation with the U.S. on immigration and security issues. In a nonbinding statement approved unanimously Wednesday, the senators asked Mexico’s government to freeze joint efforts “in the fight against transnational organized crime” until Trump starts acting “with the civility and respect that the people of Mexico deserve.”

Trump first revealed Tuesday that he’d been discussing the idea of using the military at the border with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

“We’re going to be doing things militarily. Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military,” Trump said.

He spent the first months of his presidency bragging about a dramatic drop in illegal border crossings, which some DHS officials had even dubbed the “Trump effect.” Indeed, arrests at the border last April were at the lowest level since DHS was created in 2003, and the 2017 fiscal year saw a 45-year low for Border Patrol arrests.

But the numbers have been slowly ticking up since last April and are now on par with many months of the Obama administration. New statistics released Wednesday show about 50,000 arrests of people trying to cross the southwest border last month, a 37 percent increase from the previous month, and a 203 percent increase compared to March 2017. The monthly increase follows typical seasonal fluctuations.

Trump’s new focus on hard-line immigration policies appears aimed, at least in part, in drawing a political contrast with Democrats heading into the midterm elections. He has also been under growing pressure from conservative backers who have accused him of betraying his base for not delivering on the wall, and he was set off by images played on his favorite network, Fox News, of a “caravan” of migrants making their way through Mexico.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/981859214380462081?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fpittsburgh.cbslocal.com%2F2018%2F04%2F05%2Ftrump-undecided-border-troop-levels%2F

In Texas, which already has about 100 National Guard members stationed on the border, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, said the president’s decision “reinforces Texas’ longstanding commitment to secure our southern border and uphold the Rule of Law.”

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, said she appreciated the Trump administration’s efforts to involve states in the effort to better secure the border. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, also a Republican, tweeted that his state “welcomes the deployment of National Guard to the border. Washington has ignored this issue for too long and help is needed.”

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