5 years ago
Recall that I told you “the National Guard has been “deployed” to the border to perform clerical functions and do overwatch and reporting,” and that the troops have been deployed without arming orders? Now this.
From The Boston Herald:
The Pentagon began flying military helicopters and surveillance planes over the U.S. border with Mexico last month as part of an effort to withdraw all but 300 of the National Guard ground troops who have helped patrol the rugged border since mid-2010.
The 19-month deployment of 1,200 National Guard troops on the southwest border has hurt recruiting efforts and threatened to strain diplomatic relations with Mexico, Brian J. Lepore, a director at the U.S. Government and Accountability Office, told a House homeland security subcommittee hearing Tuesday.
About 12 Blackhawk helicopters and several fixed-wing manned surveillance planes began flying regular patrols over the Rio Grande in Texas for a mission called “Operation River Watch II” in March. The 300 troops will fly the aircraft, or analyze intelligence about smuggling routes in command centers miles from the border.
The Obama administration deployed the National Guard to build access roads for border patrols and to help spot smugglers. The extra manpower was intended to bridge the gap while U.S. Customs and Border Patrol hired an additional 1,200 agents.
In the first year, the National Guard troops helped apprehend 17,887 illegal immigrants and seize 56,342 pounds of marijuana, which was 5.9 percent of all apprehensions and 2.6 percent of marijuana seizures during that time, officials said.
This is a great report, that National Guard troops “helped” apprehend 17,887 illegal immigrants. But wait.
National Guard troops could man watchtowers and stare at closed-circuit television screens of the fence line but were prohibited from making arrests, and officials said morale suffered. The National Guard leadership became concerned that the mission, if extended, could hurt recruitment, according to a GAO report titled “Observations on Costs, Benefits, and Challenges of a Department of Defense Role in Helping to Secure the Southwest Land Border.”
Further use of National Guard troops “could create a perception of a militarized U.S. border with Mexico,” State Department officials told the GAO.
And we certainly wouldn’t want to create the perception of a militarized border. That would be worse than anything else. And speaking of perceptions, Lanny Breuer is at it again. Lying and creating false impressions, that is. Feinstein queued up the issue of “assault weapons” for Lanny, and he responded as intended.
Thank you, Senator, for the question, and for your leadership on this issue. You have, of course, identified the paramount issue that we have to face as we deal with transnational organized crime from the Mexican cartels.
That’s it. The paramount issue, without which there wouldn’t be any such thing as the Mexican cartels. American “assault weapons.” This deceitfulness will be held to account one day, but until then, it belongs in the same category as stupid border security reports like this one.
Today, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Mexico’s College of the Northern Border (COLEF) released “Beyond the Border Buildup: Security and Migrants along the U.S.-Mexico Border,” a year-long study on the impact of both countries’ security policies on migration.
The study finds a dramatic buildup of U.S. security forces along the southern border–a fivefold increase of the Border Patrol in the last decade, an unusual new role for U.S. soldiers on U.S. soil, drones and other high-tech surveillance, plus hundreds of miles of completed fencing–without a clear impact on security. For instance, the study finds that despite the security buildup, more drugs are crossing than ever before.
The study reveals that security policies that were designed to combat terrorism and drug trafficking are causing a humanitarian crisis and putting migrants in increasing danger.
Migrants are often subject to abuse and mistreatment while in U.S. custody, and face higher risks of death in the desert. Also, certain deportation practices put migrants at risk. For example, migrants can be deported at night and/or to cities hundreds of miles from where they were detained. These same cities are also some of the border region’s most dangerous, where migrants may fall prey to–or be recruited by–criminal groups. In Mexico, approximately 20,000 migrants are kidnapped a year; many others face other abuses. “Decency demands more humane policies,” said Maureen Meyer, WOLA analyst and co-author of the study.
In addition, “We have reached a point where any further increase in security will yield diminishing returns,” said Meyer.
Yes, we may as well just stop everything and swing the borders wide open. Our buildup hasn’t helped. The possibility that it is a drop in the bucket compared to what it needs to be doesn’t occur to this team because they have different presuppositions than you do. They don’t want a secure border, so it’s easy conclude that there should be no buildup or change in strategy or tactics.
The National Guard is bored, has little to do other than watch, isn’t under arming orders, and has sagging morale, while the administration is using the lack of security on the border as an opportunity to make political hay on so-called “assault weapons,” and study groups are more concerned about militarization of the border than they are border security.
Don’t look for a secure Southern border in this generation unless something catastrophic happens to the U.S. homeland. By then it will be too late.