During the daily White House press briefing on Wednesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced that President Donald Trump will sign a proclamation ordering the National Guard to assist border security agents on the U.S.-Mexico border in response to increasing illegal immigration.
“In an effort to prevent such a consequence, the president has directed that the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security work together with our governors to deploy the National Guard to our southwest border to assist the border patrol,” Nielsen told reporters. “The president will be signing a proclamation to that effect today.”
During the press briefing, Nielsen described the Trump administration’s intent to secure the border and close loopholes exploited by smugglers to cross the border and remain in the U.S. illegally.
She stressed that the White House will work with the governors of the border states to determine to what extent the National Guard will be involved in curbing the flow of undocumented immigration.
Check out Nielsen’s initial comments at the press briefing below:
Responding to a question about how Trump’s proclamation compares to previous National Guard border deployments ordered by former Presidents Bush and Obama, Nielsen explained that the deployment will begin “immediately” and emphasized that “conversations are ongoing” with the border state governors.
“We specified out the missions where we need support,” Nielsen explained as she detailed various border operations undertaken in previous administrations.
“So we’ve been very specific state by state, locale by locale of what [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] believes they need and then we’ll work in conjunction with the governors who are in fact on the front lines to see what they need and work it within the National Guard,” she added.
Nielsen explained that while the details of the size and duration of the deployment have yet to be worked out, the National Guard presence on the border will be tailored to the specific needs of each community.
“It will be strong,” she said. “It will be as many as is needed to fill the gaps that we have today.”
Watch Nielsen’s response to the question:
The announcement comes after Trump voiced his frustration about current border security efforts after Congress failed to secure complete funding for the entire border wall in the recent Omnibus spending bill.