April 9 (UPI) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey deployed 225 National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border Monday in support of President Donald Trump‘s border security call.
“Just updated Arizona border sheriffs on today’s deployment of National Guard,” Ducey said in a Twitter post. “LATEST: 225 guard members being deployed today, additional members tomorrow.
“These troops will be helping our federal partners with any support role responsibilities that they need, and will be stationed in both the Tucson and Yuma sectors,” he added in a second tweet.
The U.S. military is largely prohibited from engaging in domestic law enforcement like arresting undocumented immigrants at the border.
The Arizona deployment comes after Defense Secretary James Mattisauthorized 4,000 National Guard troops on Friday to help with security on the U.S. border with Mexico.
Trump authorized the National Guard with governors’ approval to enhance U.S. border patrol security on Wednesday. Trump said in a memorandum Wednesday that there is a “drastic surge of illegal activity on the southern border,” threatening national security.
In recent years, the number of people detained crossing the border has fallen sharply and is now at the lowest since 1971, according to Border Patrol data. In fiscal year 2017, 304,000 individuals were apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border, down from 409,000 in 2016; 331,000 in 2015; and 479,000 in 2014.
But the Justice Department said there has been a 203 percent increase in illegal border crossings from March 2017 to March 2018. Crossings increased 37 percent ifrom February 2018 to March 2018, the largest month-to-month increase since 2011.
Texas became the first state to send National Guard troops to the southern border, The New York Times reported, deploying 250 guards to the border Friday.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen, who announced the deployment Wednesday, didn’t offer details about how the National Guard would be used along the border, but said they would serve in a similar capacity as they did when previous administrations deployed troops to the border — aerial surveillance and support functions.