President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he will send American troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to deter illegal crossings "until we can have a wall."
“Until we can have a wall and proper security, we are going to be guarding our border with the military. That's a big step,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
Defense Secretary James Mattis was sitting next to Trump when he made his comments.
Currently, it is U.S. Border Patrol and not the military that is charged with protecting the border, but Trump has been increasingly focused on immigration since the weekend, tweeting numerous times about illegal border crossings, "weak" U.S. immigration laws, and calling upon Mexico to stop the flow of people into the U.S.
Over the past several days, the president has closed the door to a deal to protect young immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children, called on Mexico to step up efforts to detail illegal border crossers and sounded the alarm about a so-called “caravan” of Central American migrants heading for the U.S. border.
"If it reaches our border, our laws are so weak and so pathetic...it's like we have no border,” Trump said.
The Hill notes that both Presidents Obama and George W. Bush sent National Guard troops to the border, but neither took the hostile stance toward Mexico that Trump continues to express.