Washington: The White House has defended President Donald Trumps move to send National Guard troopers to the US-Mexico border, saying illegal immigration was “a problem of a proportion at this point that cant go unaddressed”, the media reported.
The Trump administration saw a 200 per cent increase last month in year-over-year border apprehensions, amounting to more than 50,000 people, White House Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert said on Sunday.
Border apprehensions have fallen in recent years. But Bossert said the sharp rise, combined with an expected seasonal uptick next month, necessitated the deployment, reports Politico news.
“We’ve got a leaking boat on our border, and we’re all quibbling with how much water’s in the boat… What we’re doing is taking action now at the appropriate time instead of waiting as others have in the past,” he said.
Bossert declined to provide specifics on the cost or length of the new troop deployments on border.
The White House adviser said that he did not have data to back Trump’s assertion that migrant women “are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before”, but Bossert said rape was “the price of entry” for many seeking to cross the border.
Bossert added that the US and other countries “have to change the dynamic in the Western Hemisphere” to address the problem’s roots, Politico reported.
After Trump’s order on April 4 to send the National Guard to the border, Texas began deploying 250 troops on April 6 with more slated to arrive this week.
Arizona plans to deploy 150 troops to the border this week.
Other governors, including Democrats in Oregon and Montana, have said they will not participate.
Trump has called for 2,000 to 4,000 new troops along the border to support the US Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies.
During their tenures, former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush also sent National Guard troops to the border.