The first web report from today’s press conference at Camp Mabry, headquarters of the Texas National Guard, comes from Lee McGuire of Austin’s KVUE-TV (with video clip online).
“Yesterday, we just found out, was a deadline the President set to have 800 members of the National Guard on the border already, and today we learned that that deadline has been met,” says McGuire in his live report.
When and how did the President set that deadline? A review of online sources turns up an AP story of May 24 that references “a first wave of 800” that “will head to the US-Mexico border next week” (or by June 1).
Of the eventual force of 6,000 planned for the border, McGuire reports that half will be spending anywhere from two weeks to two years “making sure that folks do not cross illegally.”
“They will be armed, but they will be not allowed to shoot anybody. They will only be allowed to fire in self defense, if that is the case,” says McGuire, blinking into the camera.
“That is one concern that the Mexican government had had, that folks along the border would be armed and providing some kind of military presence along the border. Again, the National Guard will be armed, but they will not be ‘militarized’,” says the messenger, who we would prefer to have said “say officials” at that precise point.
Armed miltary will not be militarized, say officials.
“The rest of the folks there will kind of be watching cameras and also looking at what is happening along the border trying to learn about where folks are coming across, and supporting the border patrol in their existing mission along the border.”
Reuters splits the remaining half in two: with a quarter helping to gather intelligence, while the other quarter will build “roads and metal barriers.”
More coming at five and six. “We learned a lot of facts today.” Thanks Lee for being there. But let’s call militarization for the fact it is, pretty please. Just give us a little space to think clearly while we try to figure out why today we are learning for the first time about yesterday’s Presidential deadline.