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Border Patrol union chief: National guard deployment a ‘colossal waste’

Arizona National Guard soldiers receive their reporting paperwork prior to deployment to the Mexico border at the Papago Park Military Reservation Monday, April 9, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — The president of the national Border Patrol union said there has been “no benefit” from the deployment of National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“(It’s) a colossal waste of resources,” Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, said to the Los Angeles Times.

About 1,600 National Guard troops were deployed to the border, more than 400 of which came from Arizona.

When President Donald Trump announced the deployment at the beginning of April, he said he wanted to send 2,000 to 4,000 troops.

The union, which represents 15,000 agents, has previously praised Trump’s border security efforts and his plan to send National Guard troops.

Judd said he was “extremely excited” to have the National Guard alleviate the Border Patrol’s workload on the border.

A Border Patrol spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times that the National Guard had assisted with 3,924 deportations, 1,116 “turn backs” of would-be immigrants into Mexico and the seizure of 3,486 pounds of marijuana.

However, the union said the trooops have different roles than they did when former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama deployed them to the border.

When troops were sent to the borders in 2010 and 2014, National Guard members had an “observe and report” role from the front lines. Though they couldn’t detain immigrants, they aided patrols and eased the workload, Judd said.

“They were allowed to do a lot more than they are under the Trump administration,” Judd said. “They were allowed to be in lookout and observation posts. They were allowed to be out grading the roads and mending fences. They were allowed to be our eyes and ears, freeing us up.”

He said the troops’ responsibilities have been more limited this time.

“They’re not allowed to be in the public eye,” Judd said. “They’re not allowed to be in our lookout and observation posts, even in Texas.”

Texas has the busiest area of the border for immigration and drug smuggling, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman disputed Judd’s claims.

She told the Los Angeles Times that deployment has “clearly and unquestionably been a success with thousands of additional apprehensions and millions of dollars of drugs kept out of our country.”

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