Gov. Doug Ducey is embracing President Donald Trump’s announcement that he wants to deploy the military along the border with Mexico and is consulting with officials in Washington on how the state National Guard could help.
Ducey said in a Wednesday Tweet that the state “welcomes the deployment of National Guard to the border.” He said Washington has ignored the issue and help is needed. Ducey says that for Arizona, “it’s all about public safety.”
The Trump administration said it is working with governors to “immediately” deploy the National Guard to combat illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said details about any possible use of the state Guard in the mission would be released as they are available. But Scarpinato downplayed an immigration crackdown, instead focusing on drug smuggling, pointing to ongoing effort by a state police task force to help the Border Patrol catch drug smugglers.
“Anything we can do to continue to enhance security, to go after the cartels and others who are smuggling drugs into the country and putting lives at risk, the governor absolutely wants to see that happen,” Scarpinato said.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday said “the threat is real” and announced that the president was signing a proclamation to put the deployment into effect.
The announcement came hours after Trump pledged “strong action today” on immigration and a day after he said he wants to use the military to secure the southern border until his “big, beautiful wall” is erected.
Nielsen said the administration is considering a model similar to a 2006 operation where then-President George W. Bush deployed National Guard troops. Former President Barack Obama also deployed troops to the border in 2010.
Arizona Guard troops were activated in both cases, doing border watch missions, supporting border wall construction and helping with administrative and other support tasks.