Wednesday, April 21, 2010

McCain, Kyl want troops on U.S.-Mexico border - Washington Times

Yesterday, The Washington Times ran a story on Senators McCain and Kyl expression of support for putting "troops" on the border to help quell the rising tide of violence:

McCain, Kyl want troops on U.S.-Mexico border - Washington Times

Some bloggers and tweeters immediately jumped on the idea--mistakenly thinking that armed, trained National Guard troops would be federalized and sent to the border to back up border patrol agents. Apparently, those people didn't read the whole Times story. Buried near the end was a recount of a similar episode in 2006, when the Bush Administration sent troops on the same mission. How'd that work out? Well:

In 2006, facing accusations from Congress that he had been lax on border security, President Bush deployed the National Guard to support the Border Patrol in the Southwest, with mixed results.
Some National Guard troops built infrastructure or handled clerical tasks to free up Border Patrol agents. In other instances, Border Patrol agents had to be assigned as bodyguards to protect Guard units, many of which were not allowed to carry loaded weapons. Border Patrol agents called the assignment "the nanny patrol."
"Mixed results" is putting it generously. It was a huge waste of resources and resulted in no real increase in border security. The reason? The same law that face plants the stupid "special army unit" hoax perpetrated earlier this month: The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.

The men and women of the active duty armed services and federalized National Guard troops are forbidden from taking an active role in law enforcement activities. About the only way we're going to see federal troops patrolling the border is if the United States declares war on Mexico. That's not gonna happen, boys and girls.

Nor is there gonna be any scary "special army unit" deploying within the United States to help prevent "civil unrest" before the November elections. I swear, some people really do believe in Black Helicopters...

Extra Point: Would it be too much to ask for a little intellectual consistency?


Anonymous said...

Armed troops CAN be sent to the border and employed to detain anyone crossing over illegally. It won't be a violation of the Posse Comitatus act either. That act is being touted as an excuse to NOT take action, by those who WANT to legalize the illegals already here.

One of the military's roles is national defense. All that has to happen is for the Government to declare that our borders, being unsecured, are a national threat to our security. Alternately, declare that the invasion of our nation by millions of illegals is also a threat to our national security, and bam bam bam: problem solved.

Troops go on the border, the border becomes secure, and those millions of illegals can be rounded up and sent home where they ought to be.

We need to do this, and now.

One other point: The Governor of Arizona could make a compelling case for calling out the National Guard and deploying them to the border with Mexico to secure it from illegals. All the governor has to do is declare a state of emergency and the authority is there. He's NOT defending a National border, but hes state's border, which runs concurrent with the National one.

David L. said...

I agree with your points, but this is not what is being asked for, nor is it what occurred when Bush sent federalized troops to the border. What is being asked for is that, instead of sending clerks and paper pushers, the Administration send armed soldiers to Arizona. That would require suspension of Posse Comitatus.

Also, your last point poses a dilemma. One one hand, regulation of immigration is one of the enumerated powers of the federal government in the Constitution. On the other, the Governor can use the National Guard as a police force, since states are exempt from Posse Comitatus. But the governor has no constitutional authority to use that force against immigration, since that is a federal power.

My opinion is that Posse Comitatus should be amended to exempt federal immigration law enforcement activities since, as you point out, loose borders are indeed a threat to national security.

I'm all for enforcing our immigration laws and I'm dead set against amnesty. However, I want to see effective protection of our borders in a manner consistent with the Constitution and standing law.

Anonymous said...

Now, see... I'm only arguing the point that the Posse Comitatus law does not apply to defending the border. That's an honest-to-goodness job for the military, one they are trained for (defending a fixed position) and one well within the authority of the President to give orders for.

They aren't their to arrest anyone, per se. they are there to deny access through overwhelming force, or threat of force.

I envision a border of three-deep rolls of razor wire, with 100yds of marked minefields, backed up by high walls and fixed positions for automatic weapons, firing loops for infantry, and pre-registered points for mortars and artillery.

No one gets across. No. One. You use the proper gates and have the proper papers, or you don't come in.

YMMV.. :)

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