President Donald Trump and border-state governors are working to "immediately" deploy the National Guard to the US-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration, with some troops potentially arriving later Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said. "The threat is real," Nielsen said at an afternoon briefing, adding that Trump was signing a proclamation to put the deployment into effect. "It's time to act." The announcement came hours after Trump pledged "strong action today" on immigration and a day after he said he wants to use the military to secure the southern border until his "big, beautiful wall" is erected, the AP reports. In a tweet early Wednesday, Trump said that "Our Border Laws are very weak" and that Democrats "stand in our way" of new laws. He added, "We will be taking strong action today."
Federal law prohibits the use of active-duty service members for law enforcement inside the US, unless specifically authorized by Congress. But over the past 12 years, presidents have twice sent National Guard troops to the border to bolster security and assist with surveillance and other support. The White House counsel's office has been working on the idea for several weeks, according to a senior official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal plans. Nielsen said the administration was considering a model similar to a 2006 operation in which President George W. Bush deployed National Guard troops to the southern border, with a focus on assisting US Customs and Border Protection personnel. "We are anxious to have the support," she said. (Read more border wall stories.)