Texas has become the first state to deploy the National Guard to the southern boundary of the United States. President Trump announced on April 2 that he would be sending military personnel to the US-Mexico border.
The mobilization began at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Austin, Texas. In addition to troops, the Guard stated that it would send ground surveillance vehicles and light and medium aircrafts along with the troops. In an interview with the New York Times, Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, commander of the Texas Army National Guard, said that the deployment would meet “the priorities of the governor and the president in securing our border.”
President Trump and other federal officials have stated that the troops are necessary to aid the United States Border Patrol in addressing, what President Trump believes, is a growing threat of unauthorized immigrants, drugs and crime from Central America.
As reported by New York Times reporter Mary Rhodan, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas announced last week that he would be sending 250 troops to the border and further stated in an interview that he wants to send an additional 300 troops every week until there are at least 1,000 service members on duty.
On the same day that the announcement of mobilization came from Texas, Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona also said his state would deploy about 150 members of the National Guard in his state to the border next week. Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico said she would start deploying 80 troops to the border at the beginning of last week and should expect at least 250 troops to be deployed to the border, according to the Associated Press.
Even Californian Gov. Jerry Brown, whose state sanctuary policies often conflict with President Trump’s immigration policy, is cooperating. Brown stated in a letter addressed to Secretary of Defense Mattis and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen that he wants 400 National Guard troops stationed across his state to “supplement the staffing of its ongoing program to combat transnational crime.”
“…This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life,” wrote Brown in his letter. “And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws.”
This deployment of troops is known as a federal initiative, Title 32, where the state governor will manage and retain control of the National Guard troops and their operations will be financed by the federal government.
The National Guard Troops stationed at the border will not be able to perform law enforcement activities while they are there. They will be armed under limited circumstances, primarily for self-defense, according to a memo from the Pentagon. Reports in the area have showed that the scope of the National Guard activities is limited to observing and reporting activity along the border. Administration officials have stated this deployment of troops to be necessary in order to stop the flow of immigrants entering the country illegally.