Trump Wins Pledges of 1,600 Troops For Mexico Border Duty
The Republican governors of three southwestern border states on Monday committed 1,600 National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border, giving President Donald Trump many of the troops he requested to fight what he's called a crisis of migrant crossings and crime.
Arizona, New Mexico and Texas all made new pledges that add up to almost half of the up to 4,000 troops Trump requested. Some Guard members started arriving at the border as states and the federal government officials continued to discuss what they will do.
The only holdout border state was California, led by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who has not announced whether troops from his state's National Guard will participate.
Brown has repeatedly fought with Trump over immigration policy. Under the federal law Trump invoked in his proclamation calling for National Guard troops, governors who send troops retain command and control over their state's Guard members and the U.S. government picks up the cost.
"My administration has no choice but to act," he wrote.
Administration officials have said that rising numbers of people being caught at the southern border, while in line with seasonal trends in recent years, require an immediate response.
Apprehensions are still well below their historical trends during the terms of former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both of whom also deployed the Guard to the border.
In Mexico City, a caravan of Central American migrants that had been heading north stopped in the Mexican capital. The caravan had sparked furious criticism from Trump, followed days later by his National Guard border protection deployment plan. Organizers said they never intended to go to the U.S. border.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey told a group of soldiers preparing to deploy from a Phoenix military base that their "mission is about providing manpower and resources" to support agencies on the border and denied that there was a political motive.
"I don't think this is a partisan issue or an identity issue," he said. "You show me somebody who is for drug cartels or human trafficking or this ammunition that's coming over a wide-open and unprotected border here."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told San Antonio radio station KTSA that he would add about 300 troops a week until the total number reaches at least 1,000 troops.
Some Guard members will be armed if they are placed in potential danger, Abbott said, adding he wanted to downplay speculation that "our National Guard is showing up with military bayonets trying to take on anybody that's coming across the border, because that is not their role."/chicagotribune.com
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