Defense Secretary James N. Mattis signed an order that authorized as many as 4,000 National Guard troops to deploy to the U.S. southwest border but barred them from interacting with migrants detained by the Border Patrol in most circumstances.
The order, issued in response to President Trump’s call for using troops to stem illegal immigration, specifies the National Guard will assist the Department of Homeland Security along the border but not perform law enforcement missions and will be armed only when necessary for self-defense.
“Tonight National Guard troops are deploying to support border security missions along the U.S. southwest border,” Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a joint statement late Friday.
The troops will be under state control, but the cost of deploying them will be paid out of the Defense Department budget, according to the order, which was released by the Pentagon. The order did not say where they will be deployed along the 1,954 mile border.
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