Trump working with governors to send troops to guard border

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, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday.

Posted: Apr 4, 2018 7:32 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday.

“The threat is real,” Nielsen said, adding that Trump was signing a proclamation to put the deployment into effect. “It’s time to act.”

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

Nielsen said she’s been in touch with governors on the southwest border states and has been working with them to develop agreements that will oversee where and how many Guardsmen will be deployed. She suggested some troops could begin arriving as soon as Wednesday night, though other administration officials cautioned that details on troop levels, locations and timing were still being worked out.

“We do hope that the deployment begins immediately,” she said.

President Donald Trump will be signing a proclamation directing the departments of Defense and Homeland Security to work together with governors to deploy the National Guard to the southwest border with Mexico. (April 4)

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 that had plunged during the early months of his presidency. He has also been fixated on the issue of border security since he grudgingly signed a spending bill last month that includes far less money for the wall than he’d hoped for.

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 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 of the deployment was expected to be at least $60 million to $120 million a year. The Pentagon can likely reprogram funds in the short term but would probably need authorization from Congress beyond a few months, said the aide, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Republican governors of Texas and Arizona applauded the move, while New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, also a Republican, didn’t immediately comment on it. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown of California, who has been sparring with Trump over immigration policies, is likely to oppose it.

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, calling the move a “big step.”

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 the Homeland Security Department 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. Statistics show 36,695 arrests of people trying to cross the southwest border in February 2018, up from 23,555 in the same month of the previous year.

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.

On Capitol Hill, many Republicans embraced the move.

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, called the plan “a positive step toward providing the safety this nation has long demanded.” And Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, called it “a common-sense way to temporarily assist law enforcement along the border.”

But Astrid Dominguez, director of the ACLU Border Rights Center, slammed it as “another impulsive reaction to not getting his way on his border wall” and “a dangerous move, contrary to the fundamental norms of a civil society.”

In Texas, which already has about 100 National Guard members stationed on the border, Gov. Greg Abbott, praised the president’s decision.

“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,” he said.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey 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.”

___

Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor, Matthew Daly and Robert Burns in Washington and Nomaan Merchant in Houston contributed to this report.

Terre Haute
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 83°
Robinson
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 84°
Indianapolis
Partly Cloudy
82° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 81°
Rockville
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 82°
Casey
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 83°
Brazil
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 83°
Marshall
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 83°
Hot weather returns!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1388261

Reported Deaths: 25531
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook55610710451
DuPage923511316
Will769241031
Lake683331013
Kane59404804
Winnebago34083503
Madison30917526
McHenry29180294
St. Clair28297519
Peoria23442341
Champaign21097154
Sangamon19087239
McLean18547187
Tazewell17224304
Rock Island15242328
Kankakee14543216
Kendall1327899
LaSalle12772249
Macon10995211
DeKalb10109121
Vermilion10014141
Adams8669126
Williamson7581134
Whiteside7197174
Boone683277
Ogle620683
Grundy598778
Clinton578791
Coles5768100
Knox5640153
Jackson510265
Henry507670
Livingston489891
Woodford482982
Stephenson481885
Macoupin478188
Effingham477072
Franklin454878
Marion4512117
Jefferson4419122
Monroe438094
Lee419553
Randolph416487
Fulton405259
Logan396363
Morgan393382
Christian383875
Montgomery379374
Bureau378383
Fayette322655
Perry320160
Iroquois313267
McDonough290551
Jersey271552
Douglas260536
Saline260157
Lawrence241127
Shelby232437
Union227040
Crawford214425
Bond208724
Cass203227
Ford188848
Warren184048
Clark183633
Jo Daviess182724
Pike181853
Wayne180853
Hancock180431
Carroll178037
Richland176940
Edgar176340
White170226
Washington164825
Moultrie163128
De Witt157229
Mason154145
Piatt152414
Clay149643
Mercer149334
Johnson147216
Greene145234
Massac135840
Wabash135612
Cumberland130119
Menard125012
Jasper116118
Marshall108219
Hamilton84215
Schuyler7797
Brown7286
Pulaski7007
Stark64824
Edwards57712
Henderson53014
Calhoun5292
Scott4881
Putnam4863
Alexander47411
Gallatin4684
Hardin39112
Pope3274
Out of IL20
Unassigned02427

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 750170

Reported Deaths: 13763
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1031661782
Lake556071007
Allen41654691
St. Joseph36963564
Hamilton36552417
Elkhart29381459
Tippecanoe22879225
Vanderburgh22546400
Porter19347325
Johnson18423388
Hendricks17603317
Clark13202193
Madison13130344
Vigo12609253
LaPorte12408221
Monroe12181175
Delaware10949198
Howard10281225
Kosciusko9619119
Hancock8560145
Bartholomew8163157
Warrick7855156
Floyd7777180
Grant7231179
Wayne7158201
Boone6932103
Morgan6743141
Dubois6212118
Marshall6208116
Cass5999109
Henry5895108
Dearborn589178
Noble580587
Jackson508875
Shelby500896
Lawrence4737122
Gibson444693
Harrison441073
Clinton440655
DeKalb439385
Montgomery435390
Whitley406143
Huntington402281
Steuben399559
Miami393069
Jasper387354
Knox375890
Putnam372160
Wabash360683
Ripley346670
Adams345355
Jefferson335685
White331053
Daviess3032100
Wells295181
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay266248
Washington245234
Randolph244683
Jennings235349
Spencer234331
Starke227958
Fountain219648
Sullivan214043
Owen211458
Fulton202142
Jay201032
Carroll193420
Orange188155
Perry187037
Rush175826
Vermillion174644
Franklin170235
Tipton166146
Parke149116
Pike138134
Blackford136132
Pulaski120447
Newton113336
Brown104043
Crawford102316
Benton101314
Martin91615
Warren83615
Switzerland8108
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420