National Guards Troops Headed for West Texas to Restore ‘control'

EL PASO - U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald D. Vitiello said on Friday that National Guard troops will be deployed in West Texas and New Mexico until "operational control of the border" is restored, a benchmark that's remained elusive over the years. Vitiello was vague on the exact number of troops in the region, the cost, or the specific assignments for the troops, saying planning and coordination meetings are under way."To be clear, border security will remain a civilian law enforcement capability and responsibility," said Vitiello, adding that the guardsmen will not be directly involved in enforcement roles.El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Hull said his agency has begun vetting the guardsmen. He applauded their presence, saying the troops will "enable us to do our law enforcement mission on the border. "Critics said the move underscores President Donald J. Trump's fear mongering efforts to appease what some called xenophobic supporters, using a safe region as theater, its people as pawns and threatening a longstanding relationship with neighboring Mexico.This week, federal authorities re-branded the expansion of pre-planned fence, known during the Bush and Obama administration, as bollard steel. It's now known as a "wall." On Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs distributed a video of the 20-mile construction project, referring to it as the "Santa Teresa Border Wall Replacement Project" in southern New Mexico. Trump administration's effort, said Kathleen Staudt, an author and retired Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas at El Paso, "is a waste of money. The guard has been used under Bush and Obama. I don't know if Texans know that Texas taxpayers will be paying for this. So it's ridiculous, horrific and sends the wrong message to an important trading partner, Mexico."Trump, frustrated because Congress will not fund his "big, beautiful wall," has called for up to 4,000 National Guard troops to deal with what he called "a crisis," a term echoed by U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions this week when he addressed a border sheriffs' conference.Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said this week that more than half of roughly 1,400 National Guard members the state wants to put on the U.S.-Mexico border are already on the job.In New Mexico, Gov. Susana Martinez is sending 250 guardsmen to the border.California Gov. Jerry Brown, in a statement this week, said his state will send 400 guardsmen to the border, but he had pointed words on the effort:"This will not be a mission to build a new wall," Brown wrote. "It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life. And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws. Here are the facts: There is no massive wave of migrants pouring into California."  Continue reading...

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