Tuesday, May 16, 2006

On the Border


OK, so I have been mulling over the use of the Guard on the US-Mexico border.

First thing I remembered from my ILE course: One of the Core Competencies of the US Army is to "Support Civil Authorities"...OK, so we are supposed to be able to help.

What about the legalities? Two things leap out right away; Posse Comitatus, and Title 32 of the US Code. If Congress actually decides to act under it's Article I Section 8 authority [“To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions."] then it is legal, period. At that point, per Article II, Section 2 - after Congress orders the militia “called into the actual service of the United States” then the President acts as commander in chief “of the Militia of the several States.” Should Congress dither (hard to imagine, yes?) then the Guard units called up would probably have to operate under Title 32 orders, and be bound by strict Rules of Engagement and orders to stick to non-law enforcement roles. This has been the case in many uses of the Guard for Counter-drug efforts, for example. It is a bother to try and follow all this, but I rather prefer the bother to acting unconstitutionally/unlawfully.

Alright, so if it is something we can do, and it is legal - should we be doing it? Hmmm. A tougher question. I think if it truly stays temporary, why not. If it morphs into an ongoing and semi-permanent mission, I might have to rethink the whole thing.

Of course, we have had extensive forces placed on the southern border before... and I would really rather not have this type of thing occur again.

UPDATE: I should have nmentioned above that once Congress gives the big thumbs up, we would probably be under Title 10 USC.

Also, I have had prior thoughts on the use of the Guard - here.

22 Comments:

Blogger kosovodad (Mike) said...

I agree that it's probably not a bad thing...the real test is whether it's going to end up being part of a comprehensive immigration reform effort. My guess is that the president's package will suffer from "...divided we fall" syndrome: each part will be debated by itself--and because each isn't perfect--nothing will be done.

Major Mike

8:51 AM  
Blogger Mighty Quinn said...

What is the final goal of placeing troops on the border? There doesn't seem to be any objective that, if achieved, indicates its time for the troops to leave. Catch Pancho Villa is a clear objective. Patrol a massive border indefinately seems a bit vague. The immigrants' desire to risk life and limb to enter our country is probably not an issue that will go away anytime soon, so it would follow that the Guard troops will not go away either. The whole business smells to me like a political move to show 'tough action' on illegal immigration. Though not a military man myself, I dislike seeing veteran soldiers shipped around just to satisfy political objectives.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Mark Buehner said...

I've got a strong suspicion those guard units are going to be sitting in two or three fixed camps miles from the border basically doing nothing (training and playing with UAVs and getting the radios to work with the border patrol anyway). Keep an eye on this one, it has every possibility of being a good cover for once again not making any changes to border policy. I got the feeling those NG units will have about as much impact on crossings as the units at Fort Hood do.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous steve_e_dore said...

If you aren't being used for "direct" law enforcement activities, such as apprehensions, arrest, or other application of police "regulatory" power like roadblocks or search of persons, you could be federalized under Title 10 and employed in just about any support mission you can think of. That would include surveillance, operation of technical equipment or aircraft, building walls, cutting track, administrative support, unloading 18 wheelers for a CBP officer to inspect, typing up forms, making coffee or painting rocks.

If you were deployed by the governor of a state, you could be deputized under state law enforcement (which is permitted in most states). You would remain in Title 32, state-controlled status, under the chief lawman of the state, and could be directed to engage in real law enforcement activities, such as arrest, search and seizure, or whatever the AG or appropriate authority deemed proper. Under Title 32 authority, the states can assist federal law enforcement in the immigration mission, in the spirit of comity. The state could then apply for reimbursement from DOD, for Title 32 services rendered in assistance to a federal mission.

None of these options run afoul of Posse Comitatus or other similar laws restricting the use of the military in law enforcement missions.

I'm confident the right tickets will be punched to achieve legal compliance here. Far more interesting to me is how the troops would be deployed, and their level of operational effectiveness.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It depends on what the definition of the word "temporary" is.

And why not? What about all those guards or military units in the Balkans, Germany (didn't they stop fighting?), S. Korea.

We had troops to help out in S.E. Asia during the Tsunami and in Pakistan after their earthquake and then in the south after Katrina.

And of course we could always ask for help from our friend Kofi :)
I'm sure jacque Kerry can find a way to make that pass the global test.

10:28 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Speaking of the drug war.

Is it possible we are fighting a phantom menace?

Is Addiction Real?

BTW in my estimation we will do no better fighting illegal immigration than we do fighting drugs.

For the same reason: economics are against it.

Thus the deployment is cosmetic - a waste - except for the "I don't care if it works, do something" factor.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Jim O'Leary said...

Will the National Guard save lives? If so, great.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous MikeT said...

Technically you aren't part of the militia because the NG is part of the DoD. The militias at the time of our founders, ie the groups they were referring to, were supported by the state, but not official state agencies.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Rabbit said...

Whats wrong with a fence, man come on that is the only sure way to do it.

11:40 AM  
Blogger JBlog said...

I'm not in the Guard, and I wouldn't presume to speak for its members.

But I'd bet a dollar that given a choice between a two-week stint of support duty on the border or six months tiptoeing through IEDs in Iraq, your average Guardsman would pick Arizona every time. I think I would.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Major John said...

jblog - I would have rather been back in Afghanistan than New Orleans for what that is worth.

11:46 AM  
Blogger maggie katzen said...

uh, yeah, speaking for rto, i'm fairly certian afghanistan or iraq would be preferable to arizona.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Jemison Thorsby said...

Let's see...give those patriotic enough to sign up for military service a choice between defending the Syria-Iraq border or the one between Mexico and Arizona. That shouldn't be a tough call. Let the rest of the world worry about itself for once.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I’m glad there is no talk of sending the Marines to the border. I joined the Marines to defend American freedom, not harass poor Mexican peasants.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Major John said...

Marines are busy. Besides, they are a Federal asset. Guard can be State or Federal - that's our job.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Gabriel said...

We have had troops deployed on the border for years under JTF-6 in California and Arizona. My recon team spent about a month on the border near El Centro working with both DEA and Border Patrol, so troops on the border is nothing new. Sadly the number of troops is really too small to make much of a difference, and if they have them playign backup to the border patrol, then their impact would be lessened even more. Given patrol rotations, roughly 2000 guard will be on the border at any given time. This is still 8000 shy of the 10,000 new border patrol agents that were originaly called for about 3 years ago.

In a weeks time we snagged over 800 illegals, and this was in 1995.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Bigun1 said...

I am a veteran of the Army. I can assure everyone here that we have divisions to spare sitting in Germany, Hawaii, Korea, and Colorado doing nothing but training. The division at Fort Lewis can hold the NW border, the division in NY can hold the NE border. We are patrolling a border in Bosnia, Croatia, Korea and Iraq. Hell yes we can put them on the border, with a fence and that will be a bona-fide mission rather than training at home. So as they said after WWII-Bring the boys home-guarding the border will be far more productive. It might even stop some drug smugglers as well

4:40 PM  
Blogger Major John said...

I suspect the Korean DMZ is a lot harder to watch than our southern border...

5:05 PM  
Blogger CSMBones said...

I would rather keep the Marines away from this one. If they were out there,I would take away the non-lethals and keep the AFEES employees out of range.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Mighty Quinn said...

Inflamatory thought for the day -

We have millions of people risking their lives to get into our country and work their butts off for pathetic wages. At the same time, we have millions of people within our country who don't want to work at all, or demand 32 hour work weeks and $38/hour. Of these two groups, which most likely represents to entrepreneurial work ethic of America better?

9:36 AM  
Blogger Major John said...

Right now I don't know anyone who could get away with a 32 hour week at $38/hour unless they have some mad skillz...

10:33 AM  
Blogger Saoirse said...

The Marines? They are better, doing there jobs elsewhere. I never realised so many Marines are stationed in Japan.

I don't understand why people don't want the NG on the border. Isn't mexico's army on the other side? There was a thing about them helping drug smugglers.

Why is it allright for them to have strict regulations and the army on the border and not us? We are letting them set our immigration policies.

The idea of us not "seeming" welcoming? A load of garbage. We are the most diverse country on this planet.

1) They could save the lives of those immigrants taking serious life threatening chances coming across. Keep the human traffickers from benefitting from the lack of supervision.

Child prostitution and trafficking is a huge problem right there on the border. Kidnapping as well.

2) With the war on terror, protect our borders for a change rather then someone else's.

How are we supposed to take this war on terror seriously if our borders are wide open? That is a huge problem I think as far as anti-war people. Besides no nail clippers on the plane, what is really being done? Watching those people just walk across. It doesn't look all that secure to me.

So many foreign countries complain that we are involved in there business when we shouldn't. How about taking care of our own?

Personally I think some branch of the military should patrol gang infested areas, and take them out!! Many people who live in these areas here in America would probably welcome them with open arms. I know living in rogers park, its not the south side. But we would have welcomed some type of regular patrol.

As far as political pawns. Either way. I believe the NG, or any branch of the military would overcome that in a heartbeat and do some good!! No matter where they go, and what they are doing they will succeed!!

Either way, God Bless the Troops!!

8:41 AM  

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