President Trump Has Signed a Proclamation to Send National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico Border

President Donald Trump signed a proclamation on Wednesday to deploy National Guard troops to the United States-Mexico border to assist the border patrol along the southern border and cut down on illegal immigration, NPR reports.  

Following Trump’s announcement, Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), spoke from the White House, saying that it was hoped that troops would be deployed “immediately,” but would not detail the scope or costs of this deployment, ABC News reports. When asked how many troops would be involved in the deployment, Nielsen replied, “As many as is needed to fill the gaps today.”

“Our current border security and immigration laws fail the American people. The system rewards bad behavior. It does not punish lawbreakers. It undermines our nation's economic interests,” Nielsen added.

According to Nielsen, the Department of Defense (DOD) and DHS have been “directed to work together with our governors to deploy the National Guard to our southwest border, to assist the Border Patrol.”

According to NPR, DHS’ Customs and Border Protection reported on Wednesday that concerns of people entering the country illegally through the southern border had increased by 37 percent in March from the February level. It had also jumped by 203 percent from March 2017’s level.  

On Tuesday, Trump hinted at wanting to send troops to help secure the border.

“We're going to do some things militarily,” Trump said. “Until we can have a wall and proper security, we're going to be guarding our border with the military.”

“That's a big step. We really haven't done that before, or certainly not very much before,” Trump added.

While the president does have the authority to order active duty military personnel and federal National Guard troops to assist with border security, they are not permitted to carry out law enforcement jobs, such as detaining immigrants that cross the border, ABC News reports.

This move does have several precedents. According to NPR, every president since Ronald Reagan has deployed troops for temporary missions along the border. President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama both sent troops during their administrations to assist with border operations, primarily concerning surveillance, so Customs and Border Protection personnel could focus on enforcement, ABC News reports.  

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders blamed Congress for its inaction regarding border security, which led the president to his decision to deploy troops to the border.

“The president has been talking about it for years, since he started on the campaign trail,” Sanders said. “He wanted to work through Congress. He asked them to do their jobs. He asked them to pass legislation that actually would close loopholes that would secure our border."

“He is doing what he can to protect the people of this country and he'll continue to do that and look at different measures that he can do it,” Sanders added.