“A key and undeniable attribute of a sovereign nation is the ability to control who and what enters its territory,” said Trump in the April 4 memo. “The situation at the border has now reached a point of crisis. The lawlessness that continues at our southern border is fundamentally incompatible with the safety, security, and sovereignty of the American people. My administration has no choice but to act.”
The Pentagon stated Thursday that a “security support cell” was being developed to aid coordination between the Homeland Security and the Defense departments. The expected financial costs, number of troops, and time frame have not been announced, but the Pentagon said the cell will support U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
Both the Obama and Bush administrations had ordered the National Guard to attend to the border, but critics of the deployment have questioned the reasons behind this recent move when illegal border crossing is, broadly speaking, at historically low levels.
Fiscal Year 2017 saw nearly 304,000 people caught trying illegally to cross the border, the lowest number of since 1971. The number of apprehenions in March (37,393) is more than double from a year ago, but is less than in 2013 and 2014.
The Mexican bishops' conference tweeted against the militarization of the border, expressing concern that the move may put more Latin Americans at risk.
“It is extremely risky for our Mexican and Latin American people, to have a semi-militarized border. #JesusChrist #migrant, could be executed again for trying to cross #frontier.”