On Tuesday, Gov. Robert Bentley ordered Alabama National Guard members to assist in protecting the United States border with Mexico at the request of the National Guard Bureau. The state will send UH-72 helicopter and three pilots to Marana, Arizona to assist in this effort.
“Securing the U.S. border is an issue that is important to every American, and the Alabama National Guard is supporting the effort to secure the border,” Bentley said in a press release. “The men and women who serve in the Alabama National Guard are some of the most dedicated and professional military service members in the country. I appreciate the Guard’s effort to support the Southwest Border Mission.”
The press release goes on to say that the support is “needed immediately and the Alabama National Guard support will remain until the end of September.” The effort will come at no cost to the Alabama National Guard and the mission will provide training opportunities to for Alabama’s volunteer army members.
The Southwest Border Mission, also known as Operation Phalanx, has gone since 2010 and has assisted local law enforcement and the U.S. Border Patrol in addressing the issue of illegal immigration into the country. According to Bentley’s statement, the effort has aided “in more than 28,000 apprehensions and countless border turn-backs, as well as seizure of 42,000 pounds of marijuana and additional narcotics.”
“The Alabama National Guard will support the Southwest Border Mission by providing one UH-72 helicopter and three pilots through the end of September 2016 in Arizona,” Major General Perry Smith said. “These missions provide enhanced training for our pilots, while at the same time providing strengthened borders to protect the Nation. I appreciate Governor Bentley’s long-standing and steadfast support of the Alabama National Guard.”
The announcement of Alabama guardsmen being sent to the border comes on the heels of an announcement by Bentley that he is supporting a Texas lawsuit calling executive immigration actions by President Barack Obama an “overreach” of power.