The Texas National Guard announced that it will send about 250 troops to the Mexican border within 72 hours.
The states of Texas and Arizona announced on Friday that they will send troops from the National Guard to the Mexican border, after US President Donald Trump ordered the deployment of thousands of soldiers to combat drug trafficking and illegal immigration.
The Texas National Guard said it would send 250 troops to the border in the next 72 hours and that it had already brought two helicopters to the area, while the governor of Arizona said he will send 150 uniformed officers next week.
„The Texas National Guard is preparing to immediately deploy support aircraft, vehicles and equipment to the Texas-Mexico border,“ Tracy Norris, the commander-in-chief of that state’s National Guard, told reporters.
„This deployment has begun with the movement of equipment and troops today (Friday). In 72 hours, the military department of Texas will have 250 troops, as well as surveillance vehicles in the field as well as light and medium aviation platforms,“ he added.
Meanwhile, the governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, announced his plans in a tweet.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed an order that „up to 4,000 National Guard troops support DHS (Department of Homeland Security) in its mission to secure the southern border, under the command and control of their respective governors until the end of September 30, 2018 „, according to a memorandum.
The text of the Department of Defense establishes that the troops will not carry out public order activities without the approval of the Secretary of Defense and that they will be armed only „in circumstances in which they may require defense.“
– „Until“ the border is secure –
Mattis and National Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the decision was made after their offices „identified security vulnerabilities that could be addressed by the National Guard.“
„Together, the departments of National Security and Defense are committed to using every mechanism to support the men and women of law enforcement units who defend our nation’s sovereignty and protect Americans,“ they said in a joint statement.
„We will continue to work with the governors to deploy the necessary resources until our nation’s borders are secure,“ they added.
Trump had said Thursday that between 2,000 and 4,000 soldiers would be deployed at the border, while detailing that those troops „probably“ would remain there until his famous wall is built.
The decision accentuated the tensions with Mexico and President Enrique Peña Nieto said yesterday that „the threatening attitudes (of Trump) and the lack of respect“ are unjustified.
It has also raised questions about who will finance the military mission.
The Pentagon did not immediately say where the money will come from and Trump admitted that the White House was still „checking“ the costs.
A deployment of 4,000 members of the National Guard on the border would represent a larger contingent than the United States maintains in Syria, and equivalent to half of the troops that remain in Iraq.
The National Guard was previously deployed three times to the Mexican border: in 2006 and 2008 with President George W. Bush, and in 2010 with Barack Obama. In those three cases, the mobilization was maintained for approximately one year.