WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – President Donald Trump has ordered troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a memo to cabinet members, the president said, “the situation at the border has now reached a point of crisis.”
Some members of Congress though, as well as Mexican politicians, are taking issue with the move.
“This is a historically low time for illegal immigration so it does seem strange that we would be sending the guard to the border at this particular time,” said military & homeland security analyst Rear Adm. James Winnefeld (Ret.).
The president tweeted this morning saying, “Because of the Trump Administrations actions, Border crossings are at a still UNACCEPTABLE 46 year low. Stop drugs!”
Border arrests this year are down nearly 13 percent compared to last year but March saw a big spike with more than 37-thousand arrests.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says the March numbers prompted the move.
“We are at a crisis point. We would like to stop it before the numbers get even bigger,” she said.
The White House says it’s working with governors from border states to figure out exactly how many soldiers will be deployed.
Nielsen said the effort would be similar to a 2006 operation when President George W. Bush sent six thousand troops to assist border patrol. In 2010, President Barack Obama also sent National Guard members to the southern border.
Once deployed, federal law prohibits U.S. military from acting as law enforcement, they can only act in a support capacity and cannot arrest illegal border crossers.
In addition to sending troops, the document also orders Homeland Security to submit a report within 30 days outlining what other steps can be taken. The president has repeatedly expressed frustration that full funding hasn’t been approved for the border wall he promised on the campaign trail. The White House also blames lawmakers for not passing stronger immigration measures.