The Latest: Trump move to end ‘catch-and-release’ policy
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on states deploying National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border (all times CDT):
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has approved using Defense Department money to pay for as many as 4,000 National Guard personnel to perform border security missions.
Mattis made the decision Friday night. It means the federal government will foot the bill for the National Guard missions, which will be performed under the command and control of the participating states.
A Pentagon memo said the authorization is valid through the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30. It did not indicate how much the missions are expected to cost.
The memo said the National Guard personnel will not perform law enforcement functions or “interact with migrants or other persons detained by” the Department of Homeland Security without Mattis’s approval. It said “arming will be limited to circumstances that might require self-defense,” but it did not further define that.
President Donald Trump has signed a memorandum to take steps to end “catch-and-release” policies as he pushes Congress to act on immigration.
The White House says Trump signed the memo that directs his administration to study ways of ending the practices. The policies generally refer to the release of unauthorized immigrants while they await immigration hearings instead of keeping them in custody.
The Trump administration is targeting “catch-and-release” after setbacks on immigration in Congress, including the failure of the president’s plan to grant a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 1.8 million people in exchange for $25 billion for border security and sharp cuts to legal immigration.
The Arizona National guard says a team of planners has been activated to coordinate deployment of 150 Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Guard says in a Friday news release that the troops will be dispatched next week to help free U.S. Border Patrol agents to work in the field. The troops will provide air, reconnaissance, operational and logistics support and construct border infrastructure.
Gov. Doug Ducey announced the troop call-up and said he was working closely with the defense and homeland security departments.
The announcement comes two days after President Donald Trump said he wanted to deploy the military along the border with Mexico. In previous border deployments, Arizona troops did border watch missions, supported border wall construction and helped with administrative and other support tasks
Texas has started sending troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, with 250 members of the National Guard expected to deploy within the next 72 hours.
Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, commander of the Texas Army National Guard, announced the deployment Friday.
Norris said state and federal officials were still determining what the responsibilities of the Guard members would be, but that the Guard would work to support Border Patrol and other agents in the field.
Texas already has 100 National Guard members stationed on the border under a state mission.
Arizona will deploy about 150 members of the state National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border next week.
Gov. Doug Ducey announced the troop call-up in a tweet Friday and said he was working closely with the defense and homeland security departments. More details are expected to come from the state Guard.
The announcement comes two days after President Donald Trump said he wanted to deploy the military along the border with Mexico.
Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said he had no details on what the troops would be assigned to do. In previous border deployments, Arizona troops did border watch missions, supported border wall construction and helped with administrative and other support tasks.
The Texas National Guard says it is preparing to deploy to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to a call from President Donald Trump.
The Texas Military Department, the umbrella agency over the Texas’ National Guard branches, said on its Twitter account that it would hold a Friday night news conference on the deployment. Further details were not immediately available.
Trump told reporters Thursday that he wants to send between 2,000 and 4,000 National Guard members to the border to help fight illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
That would be lower than the roughly 6,000 National Guard members that former President George W. Bush sent during another border security operation.
Texas already has 100 Guardsmen deployed as part of an existing state mission at the border.