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What the National Guard can and can't do at the California-Mexico border

Assembly member Norma J. Torres with the California National Guard in Riverside, CA.
Assembly member Norma J. Torres with the California National Guard in Riverside, CA.
The California National Guard/Flickr

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President Trump announced this week he wants to send American troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent illegal crossings and drug smuggling.

At a press conference Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the nation’s current immigration system "rewards bad behavior" and "it's time to act."

So far the White House hasn’t said how many members of the National Guard will be deployed, or for how long, and how much the whole operation will cost.

When asked about the number of troops, Nielsen said, “it will be strong. It will be as many as needed to fill the gaps we have today...we do hope the deployment will begin immediately.”

While the game of wait-and-see happens with troops, questions are surfacing about about the effectiveness of the National Guard in securing the border.

Everard Meade directs the Trans Border Institute at the University of San Diego. He explained what the troops can and can't do there. 

Meade: They could do things like man guard towers, provide aerial surveillance. They could do some administrative processing for homeland security or border patrol, like paperwork processing, and provide logistical support for pending infrastructure projects.

Read the full story here.


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