By Raoul Lowery Contreras
Like swarms of angry hornets, the National Guard will smother the border with Mexico to stop all drug smuggling, people smuggling and 10-year-old children who walk from Honduras looking for a safe place to grow up.
Laugh out loud!
Despite the Commander-in-Chief’s impromptu declaration that the military has to go to the border to shut it down and keep “rapists” and other bad actors from crossing, it is in fact against the law for the military to enforce any the law on the border. It’s called the Posse Comitatus Act.
It was passed by Southern Democrat Congressmen and Northern Republicans as part of a deal to break a tie Presidential electoral vote in 1876 between Republican Rutherford Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden. Hayes was installed as President and federal troops left the South after occupying it for 10 years.
The U.S. military cannot enforce civilian laws and can only be used in the United States in places declared to be under Presidential-imposed “martial law.” That last happened in Los Angeles in 1992 during the Rodney King riot, when Marines were ordered into the city to supplement National Guard troops.
It was obvious to informed people that President Trump had no idea what he was declaring. Eventually his harried staff managed to explain that the President meant the National Guard was going to the border to assist the supposedly helpless Border Patrol despite a 46-year low in border crossings.
We’ve been here before. Under Bush 43 and Barack Obama. The efforts were fraudulent then and the Trump initiative today is also fraudulent. Another figment of Trump’s imagination.
Here is what really happens when the National Guard is expensively deployed to the border. They sweep offices. They empty trash cans. They drive buses and trucks. They stand on hilltops and look through binoculars at the border and into Mexico.
They are unarmed. They cannot arrest anyone. They cannot stop anyone from crossing the border or question anyone who does, legally or illegally. They cannot man border inspection gates. They cannot stand guard at immigration detention centers.
Those are the things the National Guard can and cannot do.
During Bush 43’s deployment of the National Guard on the border, I was returning from Tijuana one day. After waiting an hour or two in a traffic lane, I finally inched up to an immigration officer who had all my information in his computer.
He asked me why I had visited Mexico. Dentist, I answered. Where do you live? In University City. Where were you born? Mexico City. What’s your citizenship? American. Have a good day, he said, waving me through.
Twenty feet away stood a National Guard corporal who waved me down and ordered me into secondary inspection. I said, “What for, I’ve been cleared by the immigration officer. I’m in the U.S.”
The corporal snapped, “Because I said so.”
I laughed and drove off wondering if red lights and sirens would follow me onto Interstate 5. Nothing happened. The corporal broke the law, not me.
President Trump’s “military” on the border is a fraud. The only “military” thing about the National Guard on the border are the uniforms.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant and the author of “The Armenian Lobby & American Foreign Policy” and “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade.” His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.
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