President Donald Trump is set to sign an order that will direct National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border. This was announced by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday.
During a speech at the White House, Nielsen claimed that the order would mitigate an immigration system that “rewards bad behavior.” She also referred to illegal immigration and drug smuggling.
“It’s time to act,” she said.
Nielsen elaborated on the time frame, stating that deployments could begin “immediately.”
She did not give any further details about the plan. She did not include any information about the number of troops that would be deployed or even the length of deployment and associated costs.
The Homeland Security secretary then added that the number of immigrants crossing the border illegally has increased over the past year. This coincides with Trump’s recent statements about the dangers and consequences related to illegal immigration and drugs.
Nielsen said the administration is willing to act quickly because a further increase in illegal immigration is expected in the month of April.
“The threat is real,” Nielsen said. “This threatens not only the safety of our communities and children but also our very rule of law, on which, as you know, our country was founded.”
The announcement of Trump’s plan added fuel to the fire to the debate around immigration.
“Trump’s National Guard ploy is just plain stupid,” said Frank Sharry, the executive director of the liberal advocacy group America’s Voice. “This is about Trump’s incompetence, petulance and xenophobia.”
The announcement came just hours after Trump stated that his administration would take “strong action” in his efforts to curb illegal immigration by boosting enforcement of immigration laws.
“Our Border Laws are very weak while those of Mexico & Canada are very strong,” Trump tweeted. “Congress must change these Obama era, and other, laws NOW! The Democrats stand in our way – they want people to pour into our country unchecked….CRIME! We will be taking strong action today.”
The president has also emphasized the importance of the “caravan” that is moving towards the U.S. southern border. Trump argues that the mass of more than a thousand Central Americans are clear evidence of the threat of immigration.
The caravan is part of an annual protest by the group Pueblo Sin Fronteras and most of its participants do not often cross the border into the States.
While the president is facing pressure from his supporters to secure some ground on the immigration policy front, he has faced significant opposition. He has been unable to finalize his plans for a border wall along the U.S.-Mexican frontier.
H/T: The Hill