Trump signs off on memo to send National Guard to southern border

Trump signs off on memo to send National Guard to southern border
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHealth insurers Cigna, Humana waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus treatment Puerto Rico needs more federal help to combat COVID-19 Fauci says April 30 extension is 'a wise and prudent decision' MORE signed a proclamation late Wednesday ordering National Guard troops be sent to the U.S.-Mexico border to address a “surge of illegal activity.”

In a memo to Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisIs coronavirus the final Trump crisis? Pentagon seeks to reconsider parts of B cloud contract given to Microsoft over Amazon Democrats press FEC pick to recuse himself from Trump matters MORE and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenHillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 Sen. Kennedy slams acting DHS secretary for lack of coronavirus answers The 'accidental director' on the front line of the fight for election security MORE, Trump ordered the National Guard be used to secure the border “to stop the flow of deadly drugs and other contraband, gang members and other criminals, and illegal aliens into this country.” 

Trump also asked Mattis and Nielsen to submit reports within 30 days detailing what other resources are needed at the border.

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Trump first suggested on Tuesday that he'd like to deploy troops to the southern border to secure the area until his proposed wall can be built.

On Wednesday, he followed through on that idea. Nielsen spoke at the White House press briefing to explain the deployment of troops.

“It’s time to act,” Nielsen told reporters, adding that the deployments could begin “immediately.”

She did not share how many troops will be sent to the border, the length of the deployment or its cost.

Trump has spent recent days tweeting his frustrations about current immigration laws, warning of "caravans" of migrants approaching the border and calling on Congress to enact tougher regulations.