Trump sending National Guard to border, but they won’t be touching immigrants

Subscribe to Breaking News emailsYou have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.Texas National Guard soldiers monitor the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 11, 2014 in Havana, Texas. The soldiers were sent to help state and federal law enforcement stem a surge of illegal immigrants, many of them families and unaccompanied minors.John Moore / Getty Images fileBreaking News EmailsGet breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.WASHINGTON — The Trump administration began outlining a plan Wednesday to deploy National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration, but will likely not allow the troops to have physical contact with immigrants, according to three administration officials.The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officially announced the policy in a statement Wednesday afternoon.“To Secure the Border and Make America Safe, We Need to Deploy the National Guard,” said the statement from the office of the DHS press secretary. “Deploying the National Guard will serve as an immediate deterrent while dramatically enhancing operational control of the U.S. border.”The statement said the deployment would be in coordination with governors, that the troops would “support federal law enforcement personnel, including [Customs and Border Protection],” and that federal immigration authorities “will direct enforcement efforts.”The planning follows an announcement by President Donald Trump on Tuesday that came as a surprise to many of his advisers.”Until we can have a wall and proper security, we are going to be guarding our border with the military,” Trump said on Tuesday.The plans were laid out in a meeting with senior level DHS officials as well as in a meeting with the White House’s National Security Council on Wednesday, according to the three officials. The exact number of troops and how long they will be deployed to the border will be solidified in the coming days, the officials said.Breaking News EmailsGet breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters Wednesday that Trump would be signing a proclamation to deploy the National Guard to the border. She also called on Congress to tighten loopholes in the immigration system, which she said has made it impossible for the Trump administration to end the so-called “catch and release” practice whereby immigrants are released from detention while awaiting a trial.Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday that the Justice Department “fully supports the efforts of the Department of Defense and Homeland Security announced today to secure our border.””I will soon be announcing additional Department of Justice initiatives to restore legality to the southern border,” said Sessions.He said it was “essential” for Congress to pass “clear, fair and effective legislation that ends the illegality and creates a system that serves the national interest.”No physical contactThe National Guard troops will not have physical contact with immigrants nor will they be responsible for processing them at the border, one of the officials said. Instead, they will be giving CBP agents more visibility by providing surveillance by air and through camera monitoring of the border.Then-President George W. Bush issued a similar policy in 2006, called Operation Jump Start, though a White House official said it is not yet clear how closely the new deployment will mimic that plan.President Barack Obama also deployed National Guard troops to the border in 2010 to help provide surveillance by air. Tennessee National Guard Sgt. Phillip Williams of Gatlinburg stands guard near the Mexican border in Yuma, Arizona, during Operation Jumpstart on March 2, 2007. John Partipilo / AP Pool fileUnder Operation Jump Start, approximately 6,000 National Guard troops played a support role to CBP agents already in the region by aiding in intelligence gathering and the construction of a fence along the border. The National Guard was not involved in apprehending immigrants or using any kind of force against them, unless they were first attacked.Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border have begun to increase in 2018, up from 23,555 in February 2017 to 36,695 in February 2018, the latest month for which statistics are available.Illegal immigration drastically slowed in the first months of the Trump administration, following sharp rhetoric he used to address the issue on the campaign trail. The increase in recent months has led the president to lash out on Twitter, claiming that caravans of immigrants crossing the border must be stopped and refusing to renew a DACA deal, which would protect immigrants previously brought to the United States as children.Senior administration officials told reporters on Monday that the administration also plans to send legislation to Congress that will make it harder for immigrants to seek asylum and allow the government to detain those apprehended for longer than current federal court decisions allow.Breaking News EmailsGet breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.MORE FROM newsHave feedback?How likely are you to recommend nbcnews.com to a friend or colleague?0 = Very unlikely10 = Very likelyPlease select answerIs your feedback about:ContentDesignOtherPlease select answerLeave your email if you’d like us to respond. 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