Anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard troops could be sent to the southern U.S. border, President Donald Trump said on Thursday.
The president’s comments were made on Air Force One, according to a White House pool report.
Trump said that all the troops “or a large portion of them,” would be kept along the border until a wall was built, according to the report.
The president this week directed officials to deploy the National Guard as part of a push to curb illegal immigration, to which most governors or border states — except Jerry Brown of California, a Democrat — have agreed to do. The move seems to be prompted by the caravan of immigrants, mostly from Honduras, that had been making its way north through Mexico.
Both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama have deployed troops to the southern border.
Bush deployed roughly 6,000 armed members of the National Guard from 2006 to 2008 to assist Customs and Border Protection officials. They did not have the authority to carry out law enforcement functions.
Obama in 2010 sent about 1,200 National Guard members to the border, primarily to help with surveillance.