What is the National Guard Doing at the US-Mexico Border?
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From Homeland 411
Brig. Gen. John Hoefert, Arizona’s Joint Task Force commander, was sitting in a meeting with Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan of U.S. Army North and Mexican military representatives on a Wednesday in early April. Such meetings were commonplace and nonpolitical, Hoefert told Homeland411, and were a great opportunity for information sharing and working through any border issues with their Mexican counterparts.
All of a sudden, their phones woke up and they learned that President Donald Trump had ordered troops to the border. Despite any lingering irony about when and where Hoefert learned of the president’s plans, the announcement quickly set into motion events quite familiar to the National Guard.
“So, Thursday and Friday we started looking [at] what we knew and didn’t know,” Hoefert said, “and by Monday we had our first 125 folks assembled here and ready to go out and do this.”
The deployment will include up to 4,000 National Guard troops to provide support to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. Guard personnel are activated under Title 32 status, which means Guard personnel are full time and remain under command of the state, but federal dollars fund the activation.
In recent years, Guard border deployment hasn’t necessarily become commonplace, but it’s also not unusual. From mid-2006 to mid-2008, President George W. Bush deployed about 6,000 National Guard troops to secure the southern border in Operation Jump Start. President Barack Obama initially ordered 1,200 troops to the border in 2010 to support CBP in Operation Phalanx. Though scaled back in subsequent years, the mission lasted until 2016.
As with any recent border action, political opinions continue to run high regarding the Guard’s mission and purpose. But as the mission continues, Homeland411 wanted to get an on-the-ground perspective from the Guard about what they’re doing or not doing at the border and what the future of the mission might hold.
Hoefert said he would frame the current mission in the context of Jump Start.
Read the full article at Homeland 411.
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