Trump wants up to 4000 troops on border
Posted on 04/18/19 12:43 PM
Donald Trump says from 2000 to 4000 National Guard troops are needed on the Mexican border.US President Donald Trump says he will probably station a few thousand National Guard troops at the 3200km Mexican border until the wall he wants to build to keep out illegal immigrants is built.
No funding for the entirety of Trump’s proposed wall is currently in place.
Both the Mexican government and the US Congress so far have refused to fully pay for it. Trump vowed as a candidate that he would get Mexico to pay for his wall.
Hounded by headlines about alleged affairs with various women and a continuing probe of possible collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia, Trump has recently escalated the anti-immigrant rhetoric that helped him get elected.
In a storm of Tweets this week, he has warned that illegal immigrants are threatening US security and jobs, a theme that has resonated in the past with conservative Republican voters.
Trump last month signed a federal spending bill from Congress that contained $US1.6 billion ($A2.1 billion) to pay for six months of work on his wall. He had asked for $US25 billion for it.
En route back to Washington from West Virginia aboard Air Force One on Thursday, Trump was asked by reporters how many National Guard troops he wanted at the border. He said: “Anywhere from 2000 to 4000.”
He said the administration was looking at the costs. “It depends on what we do,” he said. “We’re looking from 2000 to 4000 and probably keep them, or … a large portion of them, until such time as we get the wall.”
The deployment was likely to aggravate tensions with Mexico, a key US ally that has already expressed concern.
On Wednesday, the administration said it was coordinating with the governors of the four US border states on deploying the Guard, a reserve wing of the US armed forces that is partly under the supervision of state governors.
The Guard would not be involved in law enforcement, but would assist US Customs and Border Protection personnel with stopping illegal immigrants from entering the country, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Wednesday.
The administration’s move has drawn criticism from Democrats. “At a time when apprehensions of migrants on our southern border are at a near 50-year low, deploying National Guard troops to the border is far from a logical effort,” Democratic Senator Tom Carper said in a statement.