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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Trump suggests sending armed forces to the border with Mexico

Por Damian

Another twist in the Mexico wall story just appeared. President Donald Trump said recently he wants to use the armed forces to guard the border with Mexico until the wall he has promised is built. While having lunch with governors of Baltic countries, Trump said he communicated his idea to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

"We are going to do things militarily until we have a wall and security as it should be, we are going to protect our border with the armed forces," he said, adding that this is a "big step". "We have not really done this before, or certainly not much," he said.

Trump has been deeply frustrated by the lack of progress in the construction of what was the central promise of his campaign: a "great and beautiful wall" on the border with Mexico. Previously, he has hinted at using the Pentagon budget to pay for the construction of the wall, arguing that it is a national security priority, despite strict regulations that prohibit expenses that are not authorized by Congress.

The Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment on how such a plan would work. In the past, armed forces have been sent to the border, through the deployment of National Guard troops. In 2006, under Operation Jump Start, 6,000 agents were sent in order to increase security and surveillance. For this operation, National Guard agents were used to help the Border Patrol with tasks not related to the application of laws while hiring and training new agents. During the second year that number dropped to about 3,000. Throughout the two years, some 29,000 National Guard personnel participated in the missions, as the deployment of troops was rotated.

The uniformed officers of the Guardia were used for support tasks of surveillance, communications, administrative matters, espionage, analysis and, in some cases, the installation of border security infrastructure. During the two years, more than 48 kilometers (30 miles) of fences and 21 kilometers (13 miles) of highway were built and more than 138 kilometers (86 miles) of vehicle barriers were installed.

No American soldiers active in the operation were used because there are regulations prohibiting the use of so-called Title 10 soldiers for police and similar work within the United States.

In addition, former President Barack Obama sent about 1,200 National Guard agents to the Mexican border in 2010 to support the fight against drug smuggling and illegal immigration. As on previous occasions, the troops carried out espionage, surveillance, analysis and other support tasks while hiring and training more customs agents and Border Patrol.

At that time, officials emphasized that National Guard troops would not be sent to the front or interact with people crossing the border.Trump made his announcement the same day that government officials said they are preparing a new legislative package to end "cracks" in immigration laws.