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First National Guard Troops Arrive at the California-Mexico Border

May 17, 2018

By Alexandra Mendoza

A deployment of just over 150 National Guard troops have reported to the border between California and Mexico, where they will be working in support roles with Border Patrol. According to authorities, 108 members of the contingent have been assigned to the San Diego Sector, while 51 will be assisting the El Centro sector.

The deployment of troops to the border was ordered by President Donald Trump, who tasked the National guard with supporting the work of the Border Patrol. However, the final decision rested with each border state. As a result, Governor Jerry Brown agreed to the presence of the National Guard with the caveat that they focus on tasks against transnational syndicates, and not on immigration enforcement.

Border Patrol has confirmed that the roles of the National Guard under Operation
Guardian Support will include intelligence analysis, transportation, radio dispatching and camera monitoring, as well as infrastructure-related tasks such as clearing vegetation and roadway maintenance.

With the National Guard supporting “behind the scenes,” more border officers will be able to concentrate on safeguarding the border area, said both the San Diego and the El Centro Sector chiefs.

“National Guard units are a tremendous force multiplier and will assist the Border Patrol in providing valuable logistical and administrative support,” stated San Diego Sector Chief Rodney S. Scott. “This support will be an immediate, short-term measure that enables Border Patrol agents to return to the border; increasing national security.”

The troops will be unarmed and will continue their voluntary support at least until the end of this fiscal year, at which time they would assess whether to extend their presence, stated Gloria Chavez, the recently-named El Centro Sector Chief for Border Patrol.

“We do need their support, it is crucial for the National Guard to be here,” said Chavez, adding that at this time the troops are in a training and orientation phase.

This is not the first time that the federal government deploys National Guard troops to the border. President George W. Bush ordered 6,000 troops to the border in 2006, and President Barack Obama sent 200,000 troops in 2010.

As of now, close to 1,000 troops are supporting Border Patrol from California to Texas.

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