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Governor visits National Guard on Border

Posted at 5:05 PM, Apr 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-14 00:12:45-04

Governor Doug Ducey sent Arizona National Guardsmen to the US-Mexico border and Friday he went to the border to learn more about how the troops will be used.

Right on the border is not where we expect the Guardsmen to be.  Their role is to be more behind the scenes, doing tasks to free more Border Patrol agents to be on the border making arrests.

Governor Ducey arrived by National Guard helicopter, then spoke with National Guard troops as his backdrop.

Unless they are called to Federal Service Guardsmen are a state militia under command of the Governor.  They are under Ducey’s command in this case but activated by Federal request under Title 32, so Washington will cover the cost.

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked: “Governor if you find this is urgent why didn’t you call out the guard on your own authority before now and if the budget’s an issue why not request a Title 32 activation?

Gov. Ducey: “We received a phone call from Secretary Kirsten Nielsen before the numbers were even released informing the  Border Governors, myself, Gov Jerry Brown, Gov Susanna Martinez and Gov Greg Abbott of the surge in activity at the border.  Of course, we are aware of it as well.  They informed us the Department of Defense would put the order forward.”

Governor Ducey says up to now he’s worked to boost border enforcement through the DPS Border Strike Force.

Now Arizona National Guardsmen will serve in roles like surveillance that will keep them away from direct law enforcement and leave Border Patrol to make more arrests.  The Tucson Sector Chief says they are seeing more people trying to enter illegally.

Border Patrol Tucson Sector Chief Rodolfo Karisch says,”We are seeing spikes in traffic all along the Southwest border.  The Rio Grande Valley down on South Texas is probably the highest but Tucson Sector is a close second in the apprehensions.”

Previously Governor Ducey has said the Guard on the border is an open-ended commitment.  However, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said he expects the troops to stay on the job until October.