The States of Texas and Arizona in the United States, have finalized plans to send National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border to assist the Border Patrol in the coming days.
In Texas, military officials announced during a press conference Friday evening that the first group of 250 troops will be sent to the border within 72 hours, reports Washington Examiner.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said 150 National Guard members would be deployed in his state next week.
“Our office is working closely with @AZNationalGuard, @DeptofDefense and @DHSgov on plans to deploy approximately 150 national guard members to the border next week,” the Republican announced on Twitter.
Texas has the longest border with Mexico, stretching 1,241 miles, while Arizona’s border is about 375 miles long. The other two states that have a border with Mexico are New Mexico and California.
President Trump ordered the National Guard to secure the U.S.-Mexico border in the absence of congressional action on immigration on Wednesday of this week.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters at the White House that Trump “directed that the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security work together with our government to deploy the National Guard to our Southwest border to assist the border patrol,” Nielsen told reporters at the White House.
The Homeland Security chief declined to specify how many troops the administration would ask border states to contribute. “It will be strong. It will be as many as is needed to fill the gaps that we have today,” Nielsen said.
Trump told reporters on Thursday that 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard troops would be sent to the border.
The estimated size is smaller than a similar deployment ordered by former President George W. Bush, but larger than one ordered by former President Barack Obama. Bush ordered 6,000 National Guard members to the southern border at a cost of $1.2 billion between June 2006 and July 2008, CNN reported. Obama ordered 1,200 National Guard members to the border from July 2010 to June 2011.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed a memo Friday evening approving up to 4,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen to go to the border.
The White House also announced Friday that Trump signed a memorandum seeking to take steps toward ending the “catch and release” immigration policy, a term that generally refers to the release of illegal immigrants as they wait for an immigration hearing.