Will More U.S. Army Troops Go to the Border? Everything Is on the Table

Trump's DHS, Immigration Policy and Military Options Remain Elastic

Despite what media pundits think, President Trump’s use of active-duty troops on the U.S. southern border is entirely legal—and completely necessary. According to the Modern War Institute, “The president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces in all circumstances, even domestic border support.” The question then, isn’t the legality of the deployment but whether the number of troops assigned to border security will be enough as the crises increasingly grows more dire.

How serious is border security? The White House released a statement April 5 highlighting the following statistics:

  • United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) engaged in more than 100,000 border enforcement actions in March – the most for one month in more than a decade.
  • Total enforcement actions were 516 percent higher than in March 2017.
  • Border Patrol apprehensions for this fiscal year, through March, have exceeded the entire fiscal year totals for 2017, 2015, 2012, and 2011.
  • Border Patrol apprehensions increased 38 percent from February to March.
  • An unsustainable number of alien families and children are arriving at the border; these migrants cannot be promptly removed and require extensive care and resources.
  • Sixty-four percent of all border enforcement actions in March were directed to unaccompanied alien children and family units.
  • More than 75,000 migrants were apprehended or deemed inadmissible at the border in February, a disturbing upward trend from monthly totals late last year.
  • The overwhelming surge of migrants has created a system-wide meltdown as resources and personnel at the border are being stretched completely beyond their capacity.

According to a Breitbart report released Wednesday, Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents are being overwhelmed by large groups of Central American migrants who are entering the country in remote locations. “Agents patrolling the border west of the Lukeville Port of Entry encountered a large group of migrants as they crossed Normandy-style vehicle barriers to illegally enter the United States. Tucson Sector Border Patrol officials said this is the same area where they continue to see multiple ‘large groups’ of mostly Central American migrants. Border Patrol defines a ‘large group’ as 100 or more migrants.”

Currently, the Pentagon has confirmed that 5,000 troops have been deployed to the U.S. southern border, but President Trump’s unplanned statement that he may have to direct more American troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to curb the crisis isn’t really a surprise. Although Trump seemed genuinely shaken after talking with supporters during his visit to Texas on Wednesday, according to a report in Military Times, acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan expects that the Pentagon’s role on the border will expand in some way as the situation there “deteriorates.”

But critics of using the military at the U.S. southern border claim that doing so would hurt the military readiness of U.S. troops following a memo from the Marine commandant warning that the deployments are “causing problems.” However, lead U.S. Navy and Marine Corps officials on Tuesday downplayed these concerns. In a report by Defense News, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and the author of the memo, Marine Commandant General Robert Neller, told lawmakers there has been no negative impact on troop readiness and that the financial costs have been minimal. Neller emphasized the deployments were one small strain on budgets among eight others he’d outlined, including hurricane damage at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan, speaking to reporters while traveling home to Washington, indicated a belief that the number of migrants trying to cross over from the border with Mexico will lead the Department of Homeland Security to request more assistance from the Defense Department. “We’re still working with DHS to understand, enduring wise, what’s the best fit and role for us and how do we help make sure that DHS can stand up the right capability,” he said. “But just strictly on the basis of the volume and how much the situation there has deteriorated, I would expect us to do more.”

If Congress continues to fail in fixing the United States’ broken immigration policies, Uncle Sam—or Ann Coulter—may need you sooner rather than later. #Reignwell

 

 

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