Border Patrol union leader Brandon Judd was initially supportive of the National Guard deployment to the Mexican border, but now he says it's been a "colossal waste of resources," according to the Los Angeles Times.
"We generally support the administration, but we're not going to be cheerleading when things are not going well," said Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, which has 15,000 members.
What's going wrong?
Judd said this deployment of troops to the border isn't playing out the same as similar deployments under the Obama or Bush administrations did.
"They were allowed to do a lot more than they are under the Trump administration," Judd told the LA Times. "They were allowed to be in lookout and observation posts. They were allowed to be out grading the roads and mending fences. They were allowed to be our eyes and ears, freeing us up."
Now, Judd and union spokesman Chris Cabrera said the troops are stationed far from the border and have to be stationed alongside agents, which is creating more work and not freeing up agents for patrols.
An unnamed Pentagon official told the LA Times that state governors set the terms of how the National Guard troops are used at the border.
Difference of opinion
The Pentagon official disagreed with Judd's characterization of the National Guard's usage, saying "it hasn't been a significant change under George Bush, Obama and now Trump. They're different in how they're perceived. They're no different in what they're doing."
Acting Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said the National Guard presence actually does free up some agents. Typically, pairs of agents operate aerostat blimps to monitor the border remotely, and now troops can replace one person on those teams, freeing up agents to be on the front line.
Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman said the operation isn't yet at full capacity, and that more troops are on the way after a third request for assistance was recently approved.
President Donald Trump's plan called for 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard troops from nearby states to support Border Patrol operations.
(H/T The Hill)