President Donald Trump is sending only about 3,000 National Guard troops to the border this Spring.
“We’re looking from 2,000 to 4,000” on the border, Trump told reporters during a gaggle on Air Force One. “We’ll probably keep them, or a large portion of them, until such time as we get the wall.”
Trump is mobilizing the National Guard via Title 32 of federal law, which requires cooperation and approval from the governors. The soldiers will be used for support roles, such as logistics and surveillance, as many Central American economic migrants use spring and summer migrate to the U.S. border, either to sneak through or to request asylum.
Trump’s deployment may be smaller than President George W. Bush’s mobilization of up to 6,000 soldiers for support roles under “Operation Jump Start.”
According to a 2008 report by the National Guard:
Operation Jump Start is a two-year program. The National Guard’s initial commitment called for up to 6,000 troops during the first year. During the second year troop strength decreased incrementally from approx. 6,000 to 3,000 troops as new Border Patrol agents were trained, new infrastructure was built, and advanced technologies were implemented in border security. Operation Jump Start is scheduled to end July 15, 2008.
The statement continued:
More than 29,000 troops from all 54 states and territories have supported Operation Jump Start since the mission began in 2006.
Projected mission cost is $1.2B. $211M spent in FY 06, $687M spent in FY 07. $304M budgeted for FY 08 …
Improvements in Tactical Infrastructure Include:
• 31+ Miles of Fencing
• 13+ Miles of Road
• 86+ Miles of Vehicle Border Barriers
• 1153 Miles of Road Repaired
Trump is being forced to deploy the National Guard because Democrats — and business-first Republicans — blocked his immigration reforms plan in a February 15 vote. Trump’s plan offered a generous amnesty to at least two million illegal immigrants in exchange for funding for a border wall, ending the visa lottery, winding down chain-migration and patching the various legal loopholes which allow migrants to exploit Congress’ “catch and release” laws.
Democratic leaders also worked with Republican leaders to cut Trump’s border spending in 2018. They denied increased funding for extra border agent, extra detention beds, and extra border barriers, despite the 2016 election results. The March omnibus only allows construction of 50 miles of new fencing along the 2,000-mile border.
The opposition from Congress leaves Trump with fewer tools to stem the wage-cutting illegal and legal immigration into the United States. But he is using his power over the agencies to improve immigration policies and border defenses, and also is using his power as Commander-in-Chief to deploy the National Guard to the border.
The Trump mobilization stands in sharp contrast to the welcome policies set by former President Barack Obama. Those policies allowed more than 400,000 Central American economic migrants into the United States to plead for asylum designed to help persecuted individuals.