In April, President Donald Trump ordered thousands of National Guard troops to the southern U.S. border with Mexico, where illegal crossings were skyrocketing. Trump said the troops would work in tandem with Border Patrol agents to secure the border.
“The situation at the border has now reached a point of crisis. The lawlessness that continues at our southern border is fundamentally incompatible with the safety, security, and sovereignty of the American people. My Administration has no choice but to act,” Trump’s order said.
Now, we know the impact National Guard troops have had on keeping the border secure.
What are the details?
The National Guard’s deployment has led to 10,805 “deportable alien arrests,” a Customs and Border Patrol spokesperson said Monday, according to the Washington Examiner. Additionally, the National Guard helped agents intercept more than 3,300 others who were denied entry and turned back.
Overall, the Border Patrol has apprehended more than 250,000 illegal immigrants in the southwestern border sector in fiscal year 2018.
However, as the Examiner noted, National Guard troops are not permitted to arrest immigrants who cross the border illegally because they are not sworn law enforcement officers. Instead, guardsmen help Border Patrol agents identity and intercept potential illegal border crossers, who the Border Patrol then detain.
Guardsmen primarily help by providing air surveillance, which allows Border Patrol agents stuck at desks to head into the field for proactive law enforcement. They also help with infrastructure projects like clearing debris that makes it easier for immigrants to hide from agents.
The Examiner reported there are currently 1,601 guardsmen working on various projects at the border. That number could increase to as much as 4,000 per Trump’s order should the border situation deteriorate.
The National Guard’s deployment ends on Sept. 30, the final day of fiscal year 2018. Trump will have to issue another order to keep the troops in place.
Is Trump the first president to send the National Guard to the border?
No. In fact, both former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama deployed National Guard troops to the southwestern border to help with border security in 2006 and 2010, respectively.