The Latest: Texas governor says half of 1,400 troops on job
WESLACO, Texas (AP) — The Latest on Donald Trump’s effort to send up to 4,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking (all times local):
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says 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.
Abbott said Thursday in the Texas border city of Weslaco that morale is high among troops. He spoke to reporters after a briefing with National Guard officers and Border Patrol agents.
The Republican defended President Donald Trump’s military deployment plan to fight illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Abbott says about 450 people each day are apprehended crossing the border in the Rio Grande Valley alone.
Abbott said 1,400 troops in Texas may be the final size of the operation but that the number could change “depending on circumstances on the ground.”
California Gov. Jerry Brown has agreed to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border at President Donald Trump’s request but says they’ll focus on combating drug crime not immigration.
Brown has promised 400 troops but says they could be stationed at the border, along the coast or elsewhere statewide.
Immigration advocacy groups were critical, saying Brown’s support was a boost for Trump’s agenda.
The White House is praising Brown’s move but avoiding comment on his strident rebuke of Trump’s portrayal of a border crisis. Federal law sharply limits military involvement in civilian law enforcement. Brown’s proposal explicitly bans using California troops for federal immigration enforcement.
He says they would instead focus on fighting drug and gun smuggling and human trafficking.