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Trump signs order to send troops to US-Mexico border

AP Associated Press

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WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump has signed a proclamation orrdering the National Guard to be deployed ‘immediately’ to the US-Mexico border to combat illegal border crossings on Wednesday (local time).

Troops could begin heading to the border within hours.

In a memorandum to his secretaries of defence and homeland security and his attorney-general, Mr Trump said the “situation at the border has now reached a point of crisis”.

The announcement came hours after Trump pledged ‘strong action today’ on immigration and a day after he said he announced he wanted to use the military to secure the southern border until his long-promised, stalled border wall is erected.

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Mr Trump earlier on Tuesday tweeted, saying the US border laws are “very weak while those of Mexico and Canada are very strong”, and that he would be taking “strong action today”.

Mr Trump says that “lawlessness” at the southern border is “fundamentally incompatible with the safety, security, and sovereignty of the American people”.

The document orders the secretary of defence to support the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in securing the southern border to stop the flow of drugs and people.

And it orders the agency heads to submit a report within 30 days outlining what other steps can be taken.

The Trump administration says it is working with governors to “immediately” deploy the National Guard to combat illegal immigration at the US-Mexico border.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday that the DHS and the Pentagon will be working closely with governors in the affected states.

She said deployment would be handled as expeditiously as possible and that troops could begin heading to the border on Wednesday night.

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Syria ‘accidentally shot down’ Russian spy plane during Israeli attack

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Russia’s defence ministry said one of its military surveillance aircraft with 14 people on board disappeared from radar screens over the Mediterranean at the same time as Israeli and French forces were mounting aerial attacks on targets in Syria.

“Connection has been lost with the crew of a Russian Il-20 plane over the Mediterranean Sea,” the ministry said. Contact was lost at about 23:00 local time (20:00 GMT) on Monday, it added.

There are conflicting reports as to who is responsible for the downing of the aircraft, however the US claims it was accidentally shot down by the Syrian regime’s anti-aircraft artillery after the Syrians came under fire by Israeli missiles.

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A US official said Washington believed the aircraft, the turbo-prop plane used for electronic reconnaissance, was inadvertently shot down by anti-aircraft artillery operated by Moscow’s ally, the Syrian Government.

Russsia’s Defence Ministry said the aircraft was returning to the Russian-run Hmeymim airbase in Latakia province when it disappeared from radar screens at about 11:00pm Moscow time.

The plane was over the Mediterranean Sea about 35 kilometres from the Syrian coastline, Russia’s TASS news agency quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.

The fate of the 14 people on board the missing plane is unknown, and a rescue operation has been organised out of the Hmeymim base, the ministry said.

Agencies

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