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Thread: President Bush To Man The Border With Troops?

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    Default President Bush To Man The Border With Troops?

    Now this appears promising.

    The President's speech 15 May 2006 will hopefully provide details.

    San Antonio Express News

    Bush may station U.S. troops along Mexican border
    Web Posted: 05/13/2006 12:00 AM CDT

    Hernán Rozemberg and Sig Christenson
    Express-News staff Writers

    It's a dream come true for immigration restrictionists: Cut off illegal immigration by using the military to seal the U.S.-Mexico border.

    According to anonymous Pentagon sources cited Friday by the Associated Press, President Bush will announce Monday night that as many as 10,000 National Guard troops soon might be dispatched to the border.

    The report said no final decision had been announced and that the exact number of troops, their length of deployment and the cost of the operation remained unknown.

    In a rare concurrence, immigrant advocates and groups that oppose illegal immigration scorned the move as a political ploy.

    Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke declined to comment on the report, saying no announcement had been made.
    "I don't have any information on that," she said. "It's all speculation at this point."

    But it wouldn't be the first time National Guard troops were put on border-protection duty, noted Krenke — in fact, 170 soldiers are serving in Arizona.

    And in Texas on Thursday, an event in Val Verde County quietly brought together local and state law enforcement agencies to team up with National Guard members for a daylong preparedness drill.

    Rachael Novier, spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, said it was the first of several joint-agency exercises to be conducted in various areas of the Texas border.

    The governor specifically wants the exercises located there to double as a potential deterrent against illegal immigration, Novier said.

    She said 150 people participated in all, but didn't know the number of soldiers involved. The Texas Guard said it amounted to eight crewmen in two transport helicopters.

    Besides these drills, Perry might consider ordering soldiers to the border on permanent duty, Novier said.

    "To this point, we've focused on state law enforcement, but the governor has not taken any options off the table," she said.

    Bush's expected announcement comes on the heels of a meeting his political strategist, Karl Rove, held with members of the Texas congressional delegation at which the troop deployment was discussed.

    Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio, attended, but his spokeswoman, Brittany Eck, declined to comment on what was said. Bonilla applauded Bush's "explorations of all options" for increasing border security, she said.

    Others were more direct in backing the planned announcement.
    Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a statement that border agents need the kind of help soldiers can provide.

    Other law enforcement agencies that deal with border violence are glad to get a helping hand, Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo González said.

    "I welcome it," said González, a founding member of the still-growing Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition. "We're overwhelmed, and our borders need to be protected."

    Not all border-area leaders concurred, deeming the move controversial and risky.

    Reps. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, a former veteran Border Patrol administrator, and Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, wasted no time in making their views known.

    They sent separate letters to President Bush and to Paul McHale, an assistant defense secretary, strongly urging them to think twice about putting soldiers on the border.

    Citing the 1997 killing of an 18-year-old U.S. citizen near Redford by a Marine in a squad patrolling the border under a Defense Department training program called Joint Task Force 6, both congressmen noted that soldiers' training varies greatly from that of border agents.

    The letters questioned whether soldiers were more needed to meet the nation's commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    They also said numerous critical decisions would have to be made, such as determining if soldiers would be under Border Patrol command and if they would be allowed to arrest and hold illegal border crossers.

    Advocates for immigration said any announcement of troops being sent to the border would be a political smokescreen — and curiously enough, activists pushing to beef up the border and restrict immigration agreed.

    Shannon McGauley, leader of the Texas Minutemen, a group that has led civilian border-watch missions around El Paso, said President Bush will have to do a lot more than promise to send the soldiers.

    He predicted that at most 2,000 soldiers would be deployed, when upward of 25,000 to 50,000 would be needed to truly control the nation's borders.
    "It's a diversionary tactic, that's all it is," McGauley said. "He's putting on a little front-door show to slip an amnesty program through the back door."

    Arnoldo Garc*a, spokesman for the Oakland-based National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, couldn't agree more, though he didn't think the final result would be satisfactory for his constituents.

    That's because many immigrant advocates do not back the notion of a temporary guest-worker program that cuts off a path to citizenship.

    Still, the thought of years of heated rhetoric about sending soldiers to the border actually becoming a reality is a scary one, Garc*a admitted.

    "It's a dreadful day for our communities," he said. "There are already enough migrant deaths, and putting soldiers out there will only increase the count — soldiers are trained to kill."

    Indeed, legal procedure and protocol do not make troop deployment to the border an easy process, even when directly ordered by the president.

    If such an order comes, National Guard troops likely would be federalized.

    That action raises questions, principally whether Bush would be required to invoke the Insurrection Act, which grants the president authority to use the military to end rebellions, domestic violence and conspiracies.

    Not to be overlooked is the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, forbidding federal military forces, including the National Guard, from acting in a domestic law enforcement capacity.

    State leaders don't need to wait for the president if they see a dire and immediate need to mobilize National Guard troops, which are commonly dispatched for recovery efforts following natural disasters.

    Yet, with the stroke of a pen, Perry could easily send them to the border under state active duty. He could also put to use Title 32 of the U.S. Government Code, whereby troops would be paid by the federal government but remain under his control.

    No matter which code is invoked, the Texas National Guard, the largest in the country, has about 15,000 soldiers readily available, said state commander Army Maj. Gen. Charles Rodr*guez.

    The Texas Guard does not perform Border Patrol work. But it has had up to 100 troops at any one time helping with anti-drug-smuggling efforts along the border since 1989.

    Working from Brownsville to El Paso, the troops help analyze such things as border crossing traffic and provide the information to various law enforcement agencies.

    They do not make arrests, Rodr*guez said.

    He said there are alternatives to putting large numbers of soldiers on the border, an act some fear would lead to tragedy.

    "I'm suggesting there is more than one way to skin a cat, and I'm trusting that our national leaders and our state leaders will be creative and efficient."

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    Default Re: President Bush To Man The Border With Troops?

    Personally, I will believe it when I see it.

    Also, do not be surprised if these guys (assuming they are deployed) are issued ROEs that restricted them to a strictly observational role (as opposed to one of actual apprehension and enforcement) and/or perhaps even unloaded firearms so that they just look threatening.

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