President Donald Trump tweeted early Wednesday that he intends to send armed troops to the country’s southern border in response to an incident that occurred late last week, where Mexican officials detained two U.S. Army soldiers on the American side of the border and disarmed one of them.
The Daily Wire’s James Barrett reported on the incident Friday, which involved armed Mexican military personnel who pulled aside two U.S. Army soldiers, forcing one to hand over his sidearm. The American soldiers complied, hoping to “de-escalate” the situation. The Mexican military eventually let the two American soldiers go, and later claimed that they were “confused” over whether they were in American or Mexican territory since the incident took place south of the border wall, but not south of the actual border.
Trump explained Wednesday that he believes the incident was no accident, but rather a “diversionary tactic” meant to take focus off of drug-running activities, and accused Mexican authorities not just of ignoring the rising smuggling problem, but of actively facilitating “coyotes and cartels” conducting illegal border-jumping operations.
In response, the president says, armed National Guard troops will be deployed to the border.
“Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the border. Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!” Trump tweeted.
Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the border. Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2019
He’s not messing around.
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was “concilatory,” reports Bloomberg, and promised, in response to the President Trump’s concern, that the incident will be fully investigated.
“We are going to review the case, take into account what he is pointing out and assure him that we will always have a responsible attitude and respect for the government and people of the United States,” Lopez Obrador said during a press conference on Wednesday.
American troops are already at the border, deployed to assist United States Customs and border Protection in apprehending and processing illegal immigrants and asylum seekers who turn up along the U.S.-Mexico border. They’re also handling much of the border infrastructure work, maintaining sections of the border wall and handling day-to-day administrative tasks for CBP so that CBP can focus on interdiction.
The presence of members of the military along the border has caused some consternation among left-leaning politicos, and several, including California’s Governor Gavin Newsom, have pulled their National Guard troops from service, refusing to allow members of his state’s National Guard to help enforce immigration laws.
Trump also said Wednesday that he’s considering renewing his threat to close the border with Mexico to trade — a threat that got results just weeks ago, and forced Mexico to step up interdiction efforts and scale back on the number of migrant visas they issue to members of so-called “migrant caravans.” Mexico has also reportedly stepped up arrests and deportations — just not enough to satisfy President Trump.