Arizona, Texas to send 400 troops to border
Arizona and Texas announced Friday that they would send 400 National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border by next week in response to President Donald Trump’s call for troops to fight drug trafficking and illegal immigration.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said about 150 Guard members would deploy next week. And the Texas National Guard said it was already sending Guardsmen to the border, with plans to place 250 troops there in the next 72 hours. Two helicopters lifted off Friday night from Austin, the state capital, to head south.
The total remains well short of the 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard members that Trump told reporters he wants to send. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s office said Friday that it had not yet deployed any Guard members. The office of California Gov. Jerry Brown did not respond to questions about whether it would deploy troops.
Trump’s proclamation Wednesday directing the use of National Guard troops refers to Title 32, a federal law under which Guard members receive federal pay and benefits but remain under the command and control of their state’s governor. This leaves open the possibility that California’s Brown could turn him down.
Deployments to the border under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both occurred under Title 32. Bush sent about 6,000 troops in 2006, and Obama sent 1,200 Guard members in 2010.
Trump’s proclamation blamed “the lawlessness that continues at our southern border.” Trump has suggested he wants to use the military on the border until progress is made on his proposed border wall, which has mostly stalled in Congress.
After plunging at the start of Trump’s presidency, the numbers of migrants apprehended at the southwest border have started to rise in line with historical trends. The Border Patrol said it caught about 50,000 people in March, more than three times the number in March 2017. That’s erased a decline for which Trump repeatedly took credit. Border apprehensions still remain well below the numbers when Bush and Obama deployed the Guard to the border.