Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to send more National Guardsmen to border

Apr 18, 2018, 6:33 PM | Updated: 8:47 pm

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

LISTEN: Martha Maurer, KTAR News Reporter

PHOENIX — After initially sending more than 300 Arizona National Guardsmen to the border as part of President Donald Trump’s Operation Guardian Support, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is sending over additional troops.

“In the last week and a half, I’ve met with members of the Arizona Nation Guard deployed in Marana and Nogales as part of Operation Guardian Support,” Ducey said in a press conference held in San Luis, Ariz. Wednesday. “The first deployment here was 235 national guardsmen, followed by 113 for a total of 338. We’re now authorized for 440 national guardsmen at this point.

“I have no doubt that they will be an asset to our federal agencies, local sheriffs and police chiefs in keeping Arizona and our nation safe. And as the nation watches, I know this mission will be carried out with the same professionalism and capability that Arizona’s National Guard is known for.”

Specific to the location, which asks for guardsmen to support ground-based operations, 64 of the initial 338 troops were stationed at the Yuma Sector, according to officials.

The Arizona National Guardsmen support Customs and Border Patrol completing tasks such as logistics, vehicle maintenance, engineering, administrative and clerical support, communications and camera monitoring, according to officials.

“We are already deploying guardsmen and put our request out to put them in the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, which is one of the facilities that I lead and they will be doing analytics there, they will be writing reports, monitoring cameras,” Col. Frank Milstead, head of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said. “Today, the Border Strikeforce is out in numbers. We have 26 K9s that are out on the Arizona roadways, along the southwest border.”

President Donald Trump signed a proclamation in early April instructing officials to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The document ordered the Secretary of Defense to support the Department of Homeland Security in securing the southern border to stop the flow of drugs and people. And it ordered the agency heads to submit a report within 30 days outlining what other steps can be taken.

In response, Ducey sent 338 troops to the border. The mission is expected to extend through Sept. 30, 2018.

At that time, the federal government will determine whether it has the budget and whether the mission is necessary to continue, according to Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, the adjutant general for the Arizona National Guard.

“With Operation Guardian Support underway, more members of the Arizona National Guard have joined those already serving in the mission to secure our border,” Ducey said. “For Arizonans, strong border protection is absolutely necessary for our livelihoods and our lives.

“Recent action to secure our southern border is welcomed, appreciated and long overdue.”

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to send more National Guardsmen to border