Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland
“Security 1. The security of the United States is imperiled by a drastic surge of illegal activity on the southern border. Large quantities of fentanyl, other opioids, and other dangerous and illicit drugs are flowing across our southern border and into our country at unprecedented levels, destroying the lives of our families and loved ones. Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and other deadly transnational gangs are systematically exploiting our unsecured southern border to enter our country and develop operational capacity in American communities throughout the country. The anticipated rapid rise in illegal crossings as we head into the spring and summer months threatens to overwhelm our Nation’s law enforcement capacities.
2. The combination of illegal drugs, dangerous gang activity, and extensive illegal immigration not only threatens our safety but also undermines the rule of law. Our American way of life hinges on our ability as a Nation to adequately and effectively enforce our laws and protect our borders. A key and undeniable attribute of a sovereign nation is the ability to control who and what enters its territory.
3. Our professional and dedicated U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and officers, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement personnel work tirelessly to defend our homeland against these threats. They risk their lives daily to protect the people of this country. Theirs is a record of dedication and sacrifice, meriting the unwavering support of the entire United States Government.
4. The situation at the border has now reached a point of crisis. The lawlessness that continues at our southern border is fundamentally incompatible with the safety, security, and sovereignty of the American people. My Administration has no choice but to act.
5. The Department of Defense currently assists other nations in many respects, including assisting with border security, but the highest sovereign duty of the President is to defend this Nation, which includes the defense of our borders.
6. The President may assign a mission to the Secretary of Defense to support the operations of the Department of Homeland Security in securing our southern border, including by requesting use of the National Guard, and to take other necessary steps to stop the flow of deadly drugs and other contraband, gang members and other criminals, and illegal aliens into the country. The Secretary of Defense may use all available authorities as appropriate, including use of National Guard forces, to fulfill this mission. During the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the National Guard provided support for efforts to secure our southern border. The crisis at our southern border once again calls for the National Guard to help secure our border and protect our homeland.”
-Donald Trump, “Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security,” White House Office of the Press Secretary, April 4, 2018