By Prarthana Mitra
United States President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on Wednesday to send National Guard troops on the southern US-Mexico border.
“The security of the United States is imperiled by a drastic surge of illegal activity on the southern border,” read the memo.
Unable to garner the support of US Congress or the Mexican government in fully funding the border wall, Trump has decided to post the National Guard troops. Trump added that the defence secretary will “request the use of the National Guard” and the homeland security secretary will train and direct troops for the mission.
“Large quantities of fentanyl, other opioids, and other dangerous and illicit drugs are flowing across our southern border and into our country at unprecedented levels, destroying the lives of our families and loved ones,” further details the memo. Republican governors of Arizona and Texas welcomed Trump’s plans and cited them as being “needed”.
Arizona welcomes the deployment of National Guard to the border. Washington has ignored this issue for too long and help is needed. For Arizona, it’s all about public safety.
— Doug Ducey (@DougDucey) April 4, 2018
Basis for deployment
During the past few days, Trump has been actively agitating on Twitter, criticising Mexico for its immigration policies and calling on the Congress to pass strict immigration laws and fully funding his border wall.
Home land Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said to media outlets that the troops will not be engaged nor involved in local law enforcement. Nielsen also claimed that aerial reconnaissance over the area may further help in stopping illegal immigrants from entering the country, besides effectively reducing the “threat” of smuggling drugs across the southern border.
An unnecessary move?
Democrat leader Michael Bennet criticised Trump for failing to engage with lawmakers on bipartisan immigration reform that could satisfy everyone’s agendas and bring about a speedy end to this volatile issue.
“Unfortunately, the president failed to lead, and rather than find real solutions on immigration, he continues to stoke fear,” Bennet said in a statement.
Even though certain administration officials claim that the deployment might send a strong message to immigrants who are looking to enter the States, the National Guard is constitutionally limited to take punitive action. They can only help Border Patrol troops in intelligence and surveillance work, helping them track down and process immigrants.
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