Several southern states have pledged some 1,600 troops to the National Guard to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
Three Republican-led states, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico, will reportedly send the troops to help stem the flow of immigration and drug trafficking across the border in the United States.
U.S. President Donald Trump had announced plans to use armed forces to shore up the region. Last week, the head of state said he wants to send between 2,000 and 4,000 National Guard members to the Mexican border, due to “the misrule that continues on our southern border.”
Texan officials said about 300 troops would be dispatched, by the state, weekly until the complement of the National Guard reaches at least 1,000. Arizona announced that they would send 225 on Monday and another 113 on Tuesday and New Mexico promised more than 80.
“(Your) mission is to provide manpower and resources to support federal, state, and county law enforcement agencies, tribal and local, to stop the flow of criminals, narcotics, weapons and ammunition that are being trafficked to our state.” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey told troops who would be charged with securing the border.
Ducey added that the deployment of soldiers was a priority since the federal government had ignored the border “for almost a decade.” Administration officials have said that rising numbers of people being caught at the southern border.
“I don’t think this is a partisan issue or an identity issue,” Ducey said. “You show me somebody who is for drug cartels or human trafficking or this ammunition that’s coming over a wide-open and unprotected border here.”
Last week, Defense Secretary James Mattis approved Pentagon funding for 4,000 members of the National Guard, until the end of September. The Defense Department announced that members of the National Guard will not carry out police functions or “interact with migrants or other detainees” without the approval of Mattis.
“The carrying of weapons will be limited to circumstances that may require self-defense,” the department said in a statement.
Meanwhile, authorities in Democratic-led California, another border state, has remained mum on any commitment of troops to the border security effort. California Governor Jerry Brown has been at loggerheads with Trump over opposing stance on the United States' immigration policy.
The arrival of a caravan of Central American undocumented immigrants in Mexico City triggered Trump's border protection plan. But, organizers of the caravan said there were no plans to travel to the U.S. border.
Mexico's foreign secretary, Luis Videgaray, said the government is evaluating its relationship with Washington. Videgaray, however, explained that “no decision has yet been taken to suspend or reduce any cooperation mechanism.”