HOUSTON (AP) — Some National Guard members have started arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border with more expected as federal government officials seek ways to curtail illegal immigration.
The Republican governors of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico on Monday committed 1,600 Guard members to the border, giving President Donald Trump many of the troops he requested to fight what he’s called a crisis of migrant crossings and crime.
The only holdout border state was California, led by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who has not announced whether troops from his state’s National Guard will participate and has repeatedly fought with Trump over immigration policy.
Under the federal law Trump invoked in his proclamation calling for National Guard troops, governors who send troops retain command and control over their state’s Guard members and the U.S. government picks up the cost.
Brown’s spokesman, Evan Westrup, said California officials still are reviewing Trump’s troop request.
Trump said last week he wants to send 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard members to the border, issuing a proclamation citing “the lawlessness that continues at our southern border.”
Trump administration officials have said that rising numbers of people being caught at the southern border, while in line with seasonal trends in recent years, require an immediate response.
Apprehensions are still well below their historical trends during the terms of former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both of whom also deployed the Guard to the border.
In Mexico City, a caravan of Central American migrants that had been heading north stopped in the Mexican capital. The caravan had sparked furious criticism from Trump, followed days later by his National Guard border protection deployment plan. Organizers said they never intended to go to the U.S. border.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey told a group of soldiers preparing to deploy from a Phoenix military base that their “mission is about providing manpower and resources” to support agencies on the border and denied that there was a political motive.