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Donald Trump orders National Guard to US-Mexico border

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President Donald Trump has ordered the deployment of National Guard troops to the Mexican border. The White House described the level of drug smuggling and illegal immigration over the southern border as "unacceptable".

US President Donald Trump was set on Tuesday to sign an order that would deploy National Guard troops to the Mexican border. The White House said the move would tighten security at the southern border and help local officials combat drug crime and illegal immigration. Earlier on Wednesday, Trump tweeted that the US "Border Laws are very weak" and that his administration would be "taking strong action today." Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters that National Guard troops would not be involved in enforcement but would support border officials until Trumps promised wall is built. 

"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 said. She added that, despite steps taken by the Trump administration, the levels of drug smuggling, illegal immigration and gang activity on the US-Mexico border continued to be "unacceptable." Congressional approval needed Trump will still need congressional approval before National Guard troops make their way to the border, as federal law prohibits active-duty soldiers to be deployed inside the US without authorization from Congress. According to White House officials, the administration has been seeking to warm congressional leaders to the idea for several weeks. 

Presidents have twice deployed National Guard troops at southern border in past 12 years. Nielsen said the White House was considering a similar model to the 2006 order signed by President George W. Bush, which assigned some 6,000 troops to assist US Customs and Border Protection personnel. Four years later, President Barack Obama sent around 1,200 National Guard troops to the Mexico border to bolster efforts against drug smuggling and illegal immigration. Trumps border frustrations The president has become increasingly frustrated by slow action on the southern border, particularly when it comes to building the wall. "Until we can have a wall and proper security were going to be guarding our border with the military," Trump told reporters said on Tuesday, scolding what he described as the "horrible" US laws that had left the border poorly protected. The President last month grudgingly signed a spending bill that included only $1.6 billion (€1.3 billion) in funding for the border wall — a fraction of the $25 billion he had hoped to secure. That money can also only be used to fortify existing segments of the wall, rather than build new sections. The President has broached using the Pentagons budget to finance the building of the wall, despite rules that prohibit spending that hasnt been authorized by Congress. Trump has sought to bypass congressional approval, arguing that the border wall is a national security concern, albeit with no success of yet. Each evening at 1830 UTC, DWs editors send out a selection of the days hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here. 

dm/bw (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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