On Wednesday evening President Trump signed a proclamation ordering the immediate dispatch of National Guard personnel to the southern border, a senior White House official told Fox News. The proclamation comes in response to an “unacceptable” flow of drugs, criminal activity and illegal immigrants coming across the border the United States shares with Mexico.
Homeland Security Secretary Kritjen Nielsen signaled that the order will be carried out in conjunction with respective state governors and added the administration is pressing for the deployment to take place “immediately.”
“Despite a number of steps this administration has taken we continue to see unacceptable levels of illegal drugs, dangerous gang activity, transnational criminal organizations, and illegal immigrations flow across our border,” said Nielsen at a White House press briefing.
She added, “The President has directed that the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security work together with our governors to deploy our National Guard to our southwest border to assist the border patrol.”
What the National Guard will be doing on the southern border depends on what comes out of negotiations between various governors and the National Guard Bureau. “The idea here is to choose the different mission sets that the National Guard can perform to help our Border Patrol,” said Nielsen to Fox News Thursday morning. “We’ve started the negotiations, I’ve spoken to all of the governors and I will speak with them again today,” added Nielsen.
Nielsen points to increasing fraud and the numerous loopholes that are being blatantly exploited by new arrivals. Human traffickers have been advertising that migrants are more likely to be released into the United States if they are carrying a child with them. Often times, new arrivals will be carrying a child that does not belong to them in hopes they can pass the child off as their own and subsequently released into the United States.
“Traffickers and smugglers know that these individuals cannot under U.S. law be easily removed in an expeditious way back to their country of origin and so they exploit the loophole,” said Nielsen. The very practice of “catch and release” encourages more migrants to illegally enter the United States. Nielsen claims the administration has already drafted legislation and will request adequate resources and authority from Congress in order to address these issues.
“We will not allow illegal immigration levels to become the norm.” said Nielsen. “More than 1,000 people a day, 300,000 a year violating our sovereignty as a nation will never be acceptable to this president,” she added.
Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama also deployed the National Guard to the southern border to assist in national security issues. Some are speculating that the Trump Administration is seeking to mirror that of the Bush era deployment in which the National Guard was utilized to assist with non-law enforcement activities while training and hiring additional border agents.
The deployment of the National Guard to the southern border comes on the heels of the President decrying a caravan of illegal immigrants, mostly from Central America, traveling through Mexico towards the United States with the intention of illegally entry. The caravan was coordinated by a Washington D.C. based non-profit group named, People Without Borders.
When the news of a caravan of illegal aliens broke, President Trump sprung onto his Twitter account and started drawing further attention to the event. Many reports broke claiming the caravan was traveling through Mexico unchecked, as if Mexican authorities were not intending to break it up. As a result, President Trump threatened the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations currently underway which are considered a lynch pin to Mexican economic growth. President Trump also threatened to cut foreign aid to Honduras, where most of the caravan originate from, in the event the caravan is not deterred.
President Trump stated Tuesday that the caravan was being broken up after he had a conversation with Mexican officials. Homeland Security Secretary Kistjen Nielsen said that she had been advised by Mexican officials that “the caravan is dissipating” and added that several hundred have already been repatriated or deported.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions chimed in with his support for the President actions, “We will not accept the lawlessness of these types of efforts and those who choose to violate our laws, and those who conspire to assist others to violate our laws, will face criminal prosecution.”
“The Department of Justice fully supports the efforts of the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security announced today to secure our border,” said Sessions. “I will soon be announcing additional Department of Justice initiatives to restore legality to the southern border,” Sessions proclaimed.
Without the wall being built and with the Omnibus Spending bill essentially hamstringing the President’s efforts to do so until September, it would be wise to start where they can. For example, the military owns land along the southern border. Department of Defense spending can be used to start the wall in those locations in the name of national security while the President continues to negotiate immigration reform in hopes of securing the remainder of the wall’s funding. Sadly, Democratic Party’s desire to resist President Trump outweighs their desire to help the Dreamers get on a pathway to citizenship.
Leaving the National Guard on the border to assist Border Patrol is not a permanent solution and far from fiscally sound. We can use the Bush era deployments and the Obama era deployments as benchmarks as to what we can expect regarding costs under the Trump Administration’s deployment.
The Bush Administration enacted “Operation Jump Start” in which they deployed 6,000 National Guard troops to the southern border from June of 2006 until July of 2008. According to congressional testimony from Major General Jon Nichols, the cost of the entire deployment came to around $1.2 billion. That boils down to about $100,000 per troop each year.
The Obama Administration enacted “Operation Phalanx” in which they deployed 1,200 National Guard troops to the southern border which was later reduced to 300 about a year and a half later. The total cost of deployment from all publically available outlets put the entire deployment cost at $110 million. That boils down to about $92,000 per troop each year.
Drawing from the information provided above, we can expect a National Guard deployment under President Trump to range from $95,000 – $110,000 per National Guard troop each year. Certainly a great patch, but a permanent structure is required in order to ensure America’s sovereignty moving forward.