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.
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.Follow @gorkhapost
China conduct live fire drill along southeast coastline
BEIJING — China’s military has conducted live-fire drills along the southeast coastline, state television reported, but it was unclear if these were the same exercises that had been flagged as taking place in the sensitive Taiwan Strait.
The government had said the drills would happen on Wednesday off the city of Quanzhou, in between two groups of islands close to China’s coast but that Taiwan has controlled since 1949 when defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war.
Chinese state media has said the drills were a direct response to “provocations” by Taiwan leaders related to what China fears are moves to push for the self-ruled island’s formal independence. China claims Taiwan as its sacred territory.
Late on Wednesday, Chinese state television showed footage of helicopters firing missiles during an exercise it said was happening on China’s southeast coast.
State television only showed pictures of helicopters, with no mention of ships or other military equipment such as tanks or amphibious assault vehicles.
The exercises took place from 8 a.m. (0000GMT) until midnight, the report said, giving the same time frame for the previously announced drills in the Taiwan Strait.
The Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the exercise, and whether it was the same ones previously reported to be happening in the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan on Wednesday denounced the exercises, saying Beijing was using “cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling” to threaten the island.
Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint. China has ramped up military exercises around Taiwan in the past year, including flying bombers around the island.
Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said on Wednesday afternoon two Chinese H-6K bombers had flown around the island, passing first through the Miyako Strait to Taiwan’s northeast and then back to base via the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines.
The latest Chinese military movements come during a time of heightened tension between Beijing and the island and follows strong warnings by Chinese President Xi Jinping against Taiwan separatism last month.
China claims Taiwan as its own and considers it a breakaway province.Follow @gorkhapost