Doubts On Arizona's Border Over Military's Next Mission

By Michel Marizco
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 5:42pm
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2018 - 12:27pm

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Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada
Michel Marizco/KJZZ
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada.

The Pentagon is reportedly preparing to send 800 soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border. This comes in response to a Tweet from President Donald Trump on Thursday morning, who warned of a "national emergency" at the border. 

It’s not clear what the military will do at the border. The most recent military operation involved sending 2,100 National Guard soldiers — 600 from Arizona — spread along the length of the U.S.-Mexico line, and it may serve as a precursor of what to expect. 

Operation Guardian Support soldiers are serving in support roles to the Border Patrol, said spokesman Aaron Thacker. "Which is a big contrast from older border missions where we actually had people standing out on point."

There’s about 1,000 Border Patrol agents working in the low slung mountains of Arizona’s Santa Cruz County. That doesn’t include several hundred Customs and Border Protection inspectors at its three ports of entry.

Democratic Sheriff Tony Estrada has served as sheriff for Santa Cruz County since the Clinton Administration. "I think it’s kind of trying to send a strong message to these people especially the ones from Honduras that he’s going to stop them at all costs."

He says he hasn’t received any word of a plan for the military along his 50 mile share of the border and has his doubts about what more soldiers here will contribute.

"(President Trump) has been known to try and scare people in every which way he can so he can please his base, and this is obviously pleasing his base. And I guess his greatest fear is that America will no longer be white, it’ll be brown," he said.

The departments of Defense and Homeland Security did not respond to requests for further information.

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