Pentagon approves hundreds more National Guard troops to support border agents
The Pentagon has reportedly approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for more than 700 National Guard troops to supplement U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in several southwestern states.
Defense Department officials approved the deployment of 736 National Guard service members to assist Border Patrol officials in four states: California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas, the Washington Examiner reported.
This is the third such request from Border Patrol since April, and the National Guard already has about 1,100 members stationed along the border with Mexico.
Defense Secretary James Mattis has approved the deployment of up to 4,000 National Guard troops to the border, which are not authorized to perform law enforcement duties or interact with migrants detained by Border Patrol unless authorized by Mattis.
The move comes after President Trump signed an executive memorandum in April directing Mattis to support DHS in an effort to combat a “drastic surge of illegal activity on the southern border.”
DHS officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill on Friday night.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at a press briefing earlier this year that the threat posed by illegal immigration at the southern border poses a threat to the safety of American families and the “rule of law.”
“The threat is real,” Nielsen said. “This threatens not only the safety of our communities and children, but also our very rule of law, on which, as you know, our country was founded.”
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