Raoul Lowery Contreras
Early one morning this month, I spent one hour and ten minutes in line to cross from Mexico into the United States. Returning in mid afternoon, I spent five minutes entering Mexico.
At neither time did I see a single American soldier. Where are they? Here at the busiest border crossing in the Western Hemisphere, perhaps in the world, not a single American soldier is present. Those who came when President Trump ordered them there simply strung concertina wire at a cost far higher than if civilian contractors did the work.
When the infamous “caravan” from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador arrived in Tijuana in November, the soldiers were not deployed to the actual border. They were unseen. When a gaggle of caravan members attempted to illegally cross the border in November, no soldiers appeared. Instead, the group was met by regular Customs and Border Protection officers, the California Highway Patrol, San Diego Sheriff’s deputies and San Diego Police.
By law they may not arrest people crossing the border. Federal laws prohibit soldiers from enforcing civilian laws.
So what do they do?
They string barbed wire. They sweep floors in Border Patrol offices; they empty trash; they wash Border Patrol vehicles; they answer phones. They do not patrol fenced borders.
So why are they on the border?
Perhaps only Trump’s most trusted staffer knows. That would be Stephen Miller, the man behind Trump’s virulent views about immigrants of any sort, but of Mexicans and Latin Americans in particular. Unfortunately, Miller is exempt from testifying to congress because he and President Trump could legally claim “executive privilege.”
We will have to wait until he no longer works for Trump, when he is attempting to succeed on the rubber chicken circuit, when he must answer questions before he cashes checks paid by local service clubs for his views on immigration and race.
Until then we will have to settle with the knowledge that his own immigrant grandparents, Jews from eastern Europe, would not now be allowed to immigrate to the United States if Miller’s immigration scheme ever becomes law.
We will have to disagree and contest a spray-painted philosophy about immigrants in which new ones from “s—hole” countries are unwanted in the new America of Stephen Miller and his benefactor, the President of the United States.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.
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