President Trump announced Tuesday that "until we can have a wall, we're going to be guarding our border with the military," an unprecedented and controversial proposition. In a meeting between Department of Homeland Security officials and the White House's National Security Council on Wednesday, though, that plan was apparently curbed to the deployment of National Guard troops specifically. Officials told NBC News that the troops won't have contact with immigrants, either.
"Instead, [the National Guard] will be giving U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents more visibility by providing surveillance by air and through camera monitoring of the border," wrote NBC News, based on conversations with people familiar with the White House's meetings. It isn't clear yet how many people will be deployed, or for how long.
While Trump had suggested he would use "the military" to guard the border, and has floated dipping into the Pentagon's budget to build his border wall, active-duty soldiers are legally barred from domestic law enforcement duties. National Guard troops, on the other hand, are not an unfamiliar sight on the southern border, despite Trump's claim Tuesday that "we really haven't done that before, or certainly not very much before." Former President Barack Obama also used the National Guard for air surveillance support, and former President George W. Bush deployed National Guard troops to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents with intelligence gathering and building a border wall.
"Our Border Laws are very weak while those of Mexico & Canada are very strong," Trump tweeted earlier Wednesday, adding, "We will be taking strong action today."