Fulfilling a "disturbing" proposal first floated during a meeting with Baltic leaders on Tuesday, President Donald Trump directed the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security on Wednesday to begin working with American governors to deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border "immediately"—a move some have speculated is the result of Fox News coverage of the "caravans" of migrants headed toward the U.S.
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced Trump's move during a press briefing on Wednesday and said the president will soon "be signing a proclamation" making the decision official, but did not offer any details on the number of troops being deployed to the border or how long they will be there.
JUST IN: DHS Sec. Nielsen: Pres. Trump to sign proclamation today to direct DHS, DoD work with states to deploy National Guard to the U.S. Mexico border. https://t.co/VTysacVH16 pic.twitter.com/5oMIeU0P57
— ABC News (@ABC) April 4, 2018
When asked whether Trump's decision to deploy troops to the border was influenced by Fox's coverage of the migrant "caravan"—which largely consists of Honduran asylum seekers fleeing violence—both Nielson and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dodged.
Sanders won't say whether Trump's sudden decision to deploy troops to the southern border had to do with anything he may have seen on Fox News over the weekend pic.twitter.com/j6Kbu8l4dq
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— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 4, 2018
In response to news of Trump's plan, Marselha Gonçalves Margerin of Amnesty International argued in a statement that militarizing the border in an effort to prevent asylum seekers from reaching safety "could put the lives of some of the world's most vulnerable people in grave danger."
"Instead of recklessly trying to block their pathway to safety, the Trump administration has an obligation to protect all those seeking refuge and to respect their right to claim asylum," Margerin said. "To deny them that right would be a serious violation of both U.S. and international law."