Is Rick Perry Right In Calling Up The National Guard To Defend Our Border?

news
An Army National Guard soldier works as a member of an entry identification team watching the U.S./Mexico border near Nogales, Ariz., during Operation Jump Start, Jan. 17, 2007.
Photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill

Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry’s recent decision to call up the National Guard to stem the flow of migrants illegally crossing the border brings up several hot button issues. Whose responsibility is it to guard U.S. borders? Should the military be involved in such a mission? What do we do with the thousands of people, many of them unaccompanied minors, coming over the border? How do we turn them back when most are simply seeking greater freedoms, economic opportunity, or fleeing dangerous situations in their home countries?


More than 57,000 minors have illegally crossed the border since the beginning of the year. However, according to a Washington Post report last week, the 2014 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services --- the organization responsible for processing and caring for these minors crossing the border --- only provided enough funding to handle up to 60,000 children for the entire year. After the number of minors crossing the border spiked in the spring, Border Patrol assessments estimated that more than 90,000 children could arrive in the country by the end of September.

Given that the White House is now under immense pressure to put forward a solution to curb the number of individuals crossing the border, as well as resolve the question of what to do with all of the minors already here, the key question then becomes who should be guarding the border. I would argue it should be whoever can get the job done. Period. However, the issue is more complex than this. The role of the military when deployed domestically is often complicated by conflicting priorities, competing jurisdictions and, of course, political considerations. As one would expect, there are a myriad of opinions both for and against such an action in the case of this current border crisis.

For example, Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from San Antonio, said Perry is “militarizing our border.” Castro further contended that this should be treated as a humanitarian crisis. Perhaps he does not realize that even in humanitarian assistance situations, the military plays a significant role in securing the border regions so that the Border Patrol and deployed humanitarian assistance organizations can to their jobs most effectively. Perry’s office has reiterated this, saying that the National Guard will be deployed to secure the area from armed smugglers and cartel members who fire across and continue to destabilize the border.

There is also the issue of manpower. Border Patrol currently cannot handle the number of migrants currently crossing the border and, at the same time, conduct their law enforcement duties against the cartel members and other criminals committing illegal acts in the border areas. Perry pointed this out when pressed to explain the National Guard’s mission, saying the National Guard would act as a “force multiplier” for the Border Patrol to help combat the criminal elements.

I think the opposition, in general, is born of political and personal convictions and not the facts on the ground. The facts are we have thousands of people pouring into the country without a government infrastructure capable of effectively processing them all.

Therefore, as a short-term solution, the National Guard should be used to help the Border Patrol secure the border, and deter criminal activity, while a longer term solution to the lack of manpower can be resolved. When defending your position, if the defenses start to buckle, what do you do? Send reinforcements.

This is exactly what Perry has done. His state’s border is failing. Absent any solution from the federal government, he has taken action and is sending the National Guard to act as reinforcements for the Border Patrol. This seems like a proactive step to begin dealing with this flood of migrants. However, this is an action that will most certainly have consequences. People will be stopped at the border. Children will be prevented from entering the country. This is heartbreaking. Painful. Tragic. And, yet, necessary.

The question is then, do the American people understand these consequences? Are our leaders prepared to deal with them? In recent reports, the president seems to be considering the same maneuver as Perry. So, perhaps with this current crisis reaching a tipping point, the answers may be forthcoming.

Eric Navarro is a combat veteran, having served two tours in Iraq. Now a Major in the USMC Reserves, he is also the author of “God Willing: My Wild Ride with the New Iraqi Army.” Follow Eric on Twitter@ericnavarro.

 

The Colt Model 1911 .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol that John Browning dreamed up more than a century ago remains on of the most beloved sidearms in U.S. military history. Hell, there's a reason why Army Gen. Scott Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, still rocks an M1911A1 on his hip despite the fact that the Army no longer issues them to soldiers.

But if scoring one of the Army's remaining M1911s through the Civilian Marksmanship Program isn't enough to satisfy your adoration for the classic sidearm, then Colt has something right up your alley: the Colt Model 1911 'Black Army' pistol.

Read More Show Less
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney takes questions during a news briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2019. (Reuters/Leah Millis)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's withholding of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into a claim — debunked as a conspiracy theory — about the 2016 U.S. election, a senior presidential aide said on Thursday, the first time the White House acknowledged such a connection.

Trump and administration officials had denied for weeks that they had demanded a "quid pro quo" - a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor - for delivering the U.S. aid, a key part of a controversy that has triggered an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives against the Republican president.

But Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that the U.S. aid — already approved by Congress — was held up partly over Trump's concerns about a Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer server alleged to be in Ukraine.

"I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy," Mulvaney said.

Read More Show Less

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis decided to take on President Donald Trump's reported assertion that he is "overrated" at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York City on Thursday.

"I'm not just an overrated general, I am the greatest — the world's most — overrated," Mattis said at the event, which raises money for charity.

"I'm honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress," Mattis said. "So I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals ... and frankly that sounds pretty good to me. And you do have to admit that between me and Meryl, at least we've had some victories."

Read More Show Less

The former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs thinks that the VA needs to start researching medical marijuana. Not in a bit. Not soon. Right goddamn now.

Read More Show Less

The United States and Turkey have agreed to a temporary cease fire to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a safe zone that Turkey is establishing along its border with Syria, Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday.

Read More Show Less