The National Guard’s deployment to the southwest border in mid-April has led to 10,805 “deportable alien arrests” of people who illegally entered the United States from Mexico, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman said Monday.
Because guardsmen are military personnel and not law enforcement officers, they cannot apprehend illegal immigrants. But CBP officers and Border Patrol agents apprehended thousands of people that guardsmen helped point out.
The National Guard’s presence also helped lead to the interception of more than 3,300 others who were turned back before they crossed into the U.S., CBP press secretary Corry Schiermeyer said in an email to the Washington Examiner. The Guard’s deployment has also led to an additional 11,686 pounds of marijuana being seized as a result of their work.
There are 1,601 National Guard troops at the border assisting with various surveillance, maintenance, and related operations. That number could tick up considerably if the 4,000 National Guard troops President Trump approved on April 4 are called on in a future request from CBP.
Troops are providing support from the air, surveillance backup, and assistance with infrastructure projects like vegetation clearing and road maintenance, not including border wall construction. Another task is to specifically free up agents to leave their desks and get back out to the field. The troops monitoring remote video surveillance systems have then been able to report sightings to a greater field of agents, and thus the number of apprehensions has increased, officials said.
The deployment is funded through the end of fiscal 2018, Sept. 30. Ronald Vitiello, then-acting CBP deputy commissioner, said in April the intent of the mission is for CBP to regain operational control of the border.