/ Modified nov 5, 2018 3:54 p.m.

How Do Border Military Deployments Help Federal Agents?

A former National Guard public affairs officer reflects on Operation Jump Start.

The Department of Defense says more than 7,000 active-duty military members are expected to deploy to the southwestern border in the coming weeks. The announcement comes following President Trump’s comment to discourage the caravan of Central American immigrants approaching the border.

In the Spring 2018, a smaller contingent of National Guard troops arrived in Arizona to support Border Patrol agents. Troops are currently working alongside customs officers at the ports of entry as well as Border Patrol agents in the field.

Prior to 2018, 6,000 National Guard troops deployed to the border from 2006 to 2008 for a mission titled Operation Jump Start. Every person assigned to work along the border spent a minimum of three to five days training prior to assuming their roles, according to Ed Balaban. Balaban is a former public affairs officer for the Arizona National Guard. He told Arizona 360 via Skype that troops were educated on the rules of engagement and operational security.

“It’s one of the first things that everyone is told: 'You are not there to stand shoulder to shoulder and prevent anybody from coming in. That’s Border Patrol’s job,'" Balaban said. "'You are there to support Border Patrol. And they will do what they have to do to hold up the laws of the country.'"

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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