As President Donald Trump declared on Tuesday that he would work with the Pentagon to deploy military forces along the border with Mexico to help stem the tide of illegal immigration, Mr. Trump said the help was needed as he presses Congress to fully fund his central campaign pledge in 2016.
"Until we can have a wall with proper security, we're going to be guarding our border with the military," the President told reporters.
"We are preparing for the military to secure our border between Mexico and the United States," Mr. Trump added at a joint news conference with Baltic leaders.
The President's comments came as he again called on the Congress to enact tougher immigration laws, complaining that current loopholes make it almost impossible to send people back to their home countries after being apprehended by authorities.
"We have horrible, horrible, and very unsafe laws in the United States," the President said.
A day earlier, senior officials had said a new package of immigration proposals was being readied for the Congress - but the calculus on Capitol Hill remains the same - there is not a majority in either the House or Senate currently on board with an immigration plan from the President.
And it didn't take long for the President's call to put troops on the southern border with Mexico to encounter resistance from members of both parties in the Congress.
"The President does not have the legal authority to use the women and men of our Armed Forces for his own personal boondoggles," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).
"We are going to waste taxpayer money on his delusions," said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).
Using the National Guard along the border is not new - it was tried by both the Bush and Obama Administrations.
In 2005, President Bush used much the same language as President Trump in complaining about the "catch and release" policy at the southern border, so he launched "Operation Jump Start."
That plan had National Guard forces along the border supporting Border Patrol agents in Texas, California and Arizona.
In 2010, there was a repeat of sorts, as President Obama sent over a thousand National Guard troops to the border as well.
The White House told reporters late Tuesday that the National Guard option was discussed at a special White House meeting, which involved top aides and Pentagon officials.
There was no indication given by officials on any official announcement of a new border plan, or new immigration legislation.
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