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National Guardsmen sent to Mexico border to decide on additional troops

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National Guard troops leave Austin for the US-Mexico border on Friday.

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09th-Apr-2018       
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Good Morning America :
The National Guard troops sent to the U.S. border with Mexico this weekend are a team of mostly planners who will decide how many additional members should be deployed, officials said.
The Texas National Guard deployed 150 members to support the new border security mission announced by President Donald Trump earlier this week. Over the coming days, they will meet with officials from Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security in five sectors along the southern border to discuss the mission, including how many more guardsmen will be needed.
They join 100 Texas guardsmen who had been supporting previous border security operations in the area, according to Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, assistant deputy adjutant general of the Texas Military Department.
US military on border would have limited roleThe Arizona National Guard has also activated a team of planners who will coordinate the deployment of 150 guardsmen to the Mexico border next week.
On Friday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed a memo that authorized the federal government to pay for the potential deployment of up to 4,000 National Guard troops for the border mission through September. But it remains unclear exactly how many guardsmen the state governments will ultimately mobilize to support the operation.
"We are sealing up our Southern Border," Trump tweeted Saturday.
The governors of New Mexico and California, the other states situated along the border with Mexico, have not formally announced whether they will participate in the new border security mission.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has expressed support for National Guard troops supporting Border Patrol agents in her state.
California Gov. Jerry Brown's administration is considering it, according to Lt. Col. Thomas Keegan, a spokesman for the California National Guard.
"This request-as with others we've received from the Department of Homeland Security, including those for additional staffing in 2006 and 2010 -- will be promptly reviewed to determine how best we can assist our federal partners. We look forward to more detail, including funding, duration and end state," said Keegan, speaking on behalf of Brown's administration.
The Friday mobilization comes after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday that the National Guard would be deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border. The move is in response to what the Trump administration has called a recent surge of apprehensions there. But critics of the plan have argued that despite a recent increase, overall crossings are at historic lows.
"The deployment is designed to support ongoing efforts to mitigate the crisis on our border," a Wednesday DHS news release read. "The deployment will support federal law enforcement personnel, including Customs and Border Protection."
Gov. Greg Abbott praised the Trump administration's decision and said Texas has "maintained a continuous presence of National Guard members along the border" for years.
Trump's predecessors - Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama - both temporarily deployed guard troops to the border during their tenures. In 2014, then-Gov. Rick Perry deployed state guard units in response to a spike in migrants crossing into Texas from Central America.

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