Texas, Arizona, New Mexico pledge National Guard troops deployment

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Washington, April 10 (IANS) The US state of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico has pledged to deploy National Guard soldiers to its borders with Mexico in compliance with President Donald Trump’s executive order to curb irregular immigration in the region.

Texas Governor Greg Abbottt, who already sent 250 members of the National Guard to the border on the weekend, announced on Monday that he will increase the number to 1,000 in the coming weeks, reports Efe news.

For his part, the Governor of Arizona Doug Ducey, on Monday ordered an initial deployment of 225 National Guard troops to the state’s border area, and another 113 were set to arrive on Tuesday, for a total number of 338.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez pledged to deploy 80 national guards later this week, which is an initial deployment of the total 250 personnel planned to be dispatched to the state’s border area.

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The level of collaboration of California, the fourth state that shares the border with Mexico, still remains unknown as Democratic leaders in the Golden State have strongly opposed Trump’s immigration policies.

Texas, New Mexico and Arizona will initially mobilise some 1,600 troops as part of Trump’s decision to provide military support to the US Border Patrol in order to tackle the increase in irregular immigration.

Trump said last week he wanted to send between 2,000 and 4,000 troops to protect the border, while the Pentagon authorised the use of the higher limit of that range on April 6.

The US and Mexico share a 3,111-km long border stretching from east to west, passing four US states: Texas (1,997 km), New Mexico (289 km), Arizona (599 km) and California (226 km).

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Trump’s decision to reinforce the US Border Patrol with military personnel came earlier in April, when he learned that a caravan with hundreds of Central American immigrants was travelling through Mexico towards the US.

US law prohibits the use of the military for national security and law enforcement purposes, so the National Guard will have a limited role at the border and will not be able to detain immigrants arriving in the border area.

According to the US Customs and Border Protection, the National Guard could only provide support for border patrol agents in certain areas such as “aerial detection, transportation, repairing the border wall and logistical support”.

Trump is not the first US president to send soldiers to the US-Mexico border.

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In 2006, former President George W. Bush sent some 6,000 military personnel to the border, while Barack Obama in 2010 deployed some 1,200 members of the National Guard in the area.

–IANS

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