United States President Donald Trump has officially signed an order that directs the National Guard to be “immediately” deployed to the border with Mexico in order to prevent illegal crossings into the United States.
During a memorandum delivered to Trump’s secretaries of homeland security and defence, as well as his attorney-general, the President told the crowd that the issue of illegal immigration had “reached a point of crisis”.
The official document states that the secretary of defence is ordered to support the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) to slow the flow of people and drugs coming into the US from its Southern border with Mexico.
It also orders the heads of defence agencies to, within 30 days, submit a report that outlines what other steps can be carried out.
This order came not long after President Trump made tweets saying that the US border was “very weak” while saying that those of Canada and Mexico were “very strong”. He said that he would be taking “strong action” on the issue.
Donald Trump said that the “lawlessness” along the Southern border was “incompatible” with the values of the “American people”. He said his government had “no choice but to act”.
The Trump government has stated that it is working alongside state governors to order the National Guard to prevent illegal immigration at the Southern border.
The secretary for Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, said that their department along with the Pentagon would work closely alongside governors in the affected states. She said that the deployment of troops would be done very quickly although there are still some logistical aspects that need to be decided upon.
President Trump has expressed his recent frustration with the slow progress towards building a physical wall on the Southern Border, one of the key election promises he ran on. A recent surge in illegal immigration has done little to quell the President’s desire for quick action.
According the federal law in the US, active service members in the military cannot be used for law enforcement within the country unless they are given specific authorisation from Congress. Despite this, past presidents Obama and Bush both sent National Guard forces to secure the Southern border in the last 12 years.
Ms Nielsen referred to the current mission as being quite similar to an operation that took place in 2006 under George Bush. It was considered a stopgap measure until more border enforcement agents could be recruited and trained.