The deployment of National Guard members along the United States’ southern border has led to more than 10,000 arrests, Customs and Border Protection officials said Monday.
About 1,600 Guard members have been deployed along the border since April, assisting Border Patrol agents with a variety of duties.
Their presence has led to 10,805 “deportable alien arrests,” said CBP press secretary Corry Schiermeyer, according to the Washington Examiner.
Guard members cannot make arrests because they are members of America’s military, but they can both lead agents to places where illegal immigrants have crossed and perform duties that free up agents to patrol the front lines.
More than 3,300 attempted border crossers were turned back because the Guard was on duty, Schiermeyer said. Further, 11,686 pounds of marijuana has been seized due to the presence of Guard units.
Guard troops providing support include those performing surveillance duties and those playing support roles to maintain equipment.
“From the get-go, our goal has been to return agents back to the border. Not all soldiers are directly replacing an agent, but every soldier contributes to the overall mission,” Assistant Chief Alfredo Lozano told Stars and Stripes last week.
Guard units are deployed through the end of September.
Despite the efforts of multiple law enforcement and military units, illegal immigrants still make it across the border.
On Friday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested 18 smugglers and 117 illegal immigrants in southern New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, Fox News reported.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to vigorously pursue members of transnational criminal networks that exploit and endanger people they smuggle into our country,” Jack P. Staton, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in El Paso, said in a statement.
The Washington Post has reported that the Trump administration is considering a financial agreement with Mexico in which Mexico would help reduce the numbers of illegal immigrants coming across the border.
“We believe the flows would drop dramatically and fairly immediately” if such a deal took place, the Post quoted an unnamed senior Department of Homeland Security official as saying.
The way the plan would work is that illegal immigrants coming from Central America through Mexico would apply for protection there. Then, the U.S. can return anyone crossing the border illegally to Mexico.
Mexico would be paid, the Post reported.
“Look at the amount of money spent on border security, on courts, on detention and immigration enforcement,” the senior DHS official said, according to the Post.
“It’d be pennies on the dollar to support Mexico in this area.”
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