AUSTIN, TEXAS - The U.S. states of Arizona and Texas announced Friday that they will send 400 National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border within the next week after President Donald Trump called for more troops on the border.
The Texas National Guard said it was already sending Guardsmen to the border, with plans to place 250 troops there in the next three days.
“Within 72 hours, the Texas Military Department will have 250 personnel, along with ground surveillance vehicles, as well as light and medium aviation platforms,” Brigadier General Tracy Norris, deputy adjutant general of the Texas Military Department, said.
“As early as tomorrow, notifications will go out to soldiers who will be called up as part of the follow-on phase,” Norris added.
After Norris made the comments at a news conference in Austin Friday, two helicopters lifted off with troops on board to head to the border.
“The Texas National Guard has operated along the Texas-Mexico border for decades in support of both state and federal agencies,” he said.
Arizona deploys next week
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Friday that about 150 Guard members would deploy next week. The Arizona National Guard said in a statement that it would “provide air, reconnaissance, operational and logistics support, and construct border infrastructure.’’
Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he wanted to mobilize 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard members to support the border patrol on the U.S.-Mexico border. He said in his proclamation that the troops were needed to combat “the lawlessness that continues at our southern border.’’
On Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis approved the president’s request for up to 4,000 National Guard members to be sent to the border.
Trump has issued a series of angry tweets in the past week about a caravan of Central American migrants passing through southern Mexico and moving toward the United States. He said repeatedly in his tweets that America has weak immigration laws and urged Congress to strengthen them.
On Thursday, he credited the Mexican legal system for dispersing the caravan of migrants and praised his administration for a dramatic drop in the number of immigrants crossing the Southwest border.
In the United States, the active duty military is generally restricted from domestic law enforcement functions, which would include apprehending border-crossers. However, U.S. presidents have deployed the National Guard to the border to act in support roles.
This story was written by VOA News.