- The Trump administration is authorizing the deployment of National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced Wednesday.
- Trump raged for several days about a “caravan” of Central American migrants en route through Mexico to the US border.
- Previous presidents have also deployed the National Guard, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
President Donald Trump signed a proclamation to deploy National Guard troops along the US-Mexico border.
“Unfortunately, time and time again, Congress has failed to act,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said, referring to lawmakers’ refusal to provide Trump’s requested funding for his long-promised border wall and adjust certain immigration laws.
“We’re taking whatever actions we can as an executive branch,” she added.
The move came just one day after Trump abruptly announced he would dispatch US troops to the border, following several days of rage over a “caravan” of Central American migrants en route to the US border through Mexico. Many planned to seek asylum upon reaching the US.
“I spoke with Gen. Mattis, we’re going to do some things militarily, until we can have a wall and proper security – we’re going to be guarding our border with the military,” Trump said Tuesday. “That’s a big step.”
Previous administrations have also deployed the National Guard. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both used National Guard troops in 2006 and again in 2012 to either patrol the border or assist in operations.
It’s unclear how exactly the troops will be put to use – federal law prohibits them from enforcement activities such as detaining immigrants. In the past, presidential administrations have used the troops for surveillance activities along the border.
Senior administration officials told reporters in a press call on Tuesday that details about the amount of troops, dates of deployment, and the types of missions they’ll be supporting are still being worked out.
Nielsen also said Wednesday that she couldn’t specify how many troops would be needed or what the ultimate cost would be.
“It will be strong,” she said. “It will be as many as is needed to fill the gaps.”