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OPINION: National Guard at Border Is Unnecessary

Clemetine Larrouilh, Reporter

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All American citizens, no matter how clueless, are aware of President Trump’s thoughts and policies regarding the border between the United States and Mexico.  It was even clearer after his State of the Union speech, in which he outlined four steps to reduce immigration into the United States. His steps are to offer a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, secure the border, end the visa lottery system, and end chain migration. However, he’s failed to enact any of these steps, even though he thinks he has. He wrongly claimed that construction on the border wall had started, stating in a speech in Ohio that, “They want people to come in from the border and they want, I guess, want, I can’t imagine they want, but certainly drugs are pouring across borders,” he said. “We need walls. We started building our wall. I am so proud of it.”

While he gives the impression that a border wall is being built, in reality the 1.6 billion dollars that were in a recent spending bill on Mar. 3 were actually used to renovate certain parts of the border fence. However, he really wanted there to be more money in that spending bill, and almost vetoed it saying, “the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded.”

Still the border fence won’t be enough to stop the wave of Central American immigrants approaching it, and President Trump seems to be putting the blame wherever he can.

 

Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018

 

This tweet made by President Trump is alarming and contains a lot of “alternative facts.” His three main talking points in this tweet are catch and release, a “nuclear option to pass tough laws”, and surprisingly, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

“Catch and release” is a lot like what it sounds like. Border Patrol agents “catch” persons wanting to enter the United States illegally and “released” inside the United States while they wait for a hearing with an immigration judge rather than detainment or deportation.  Shortly after taking office, President Trump signed an executive order to end its practice. It reads, “The recent surge of illegal immigration at the southern border with Mexico has placed a significant strain on Federal resources and overwhelmed agencies charged with border security and immigration enforcement, as well as the local communities into which many of the aliens are placed.” However, since then nothing much has changed in regards to its practice. The reason why it’s so prevalent is because as Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies states, “Because of a recent order from a federal judge, in effect, all children must be released. And, the number of new illegal arrivals has outstripped the number of available funded space to house them when they demand immigration hearings. Under the law, ICE cannot exceed the level of detention beds that Congress has funded – that would be spending public money that it doesn’t have.”

President Trump also mentions DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as a reason for which immigrants would come to the United States which is ridiculous, considering that DACA wouldn’t even apply to them. NPR explains that DACA is, “a program created in 2012 by the Obama administration allowing young people brought to this country illegally by their parents to get a temporary reprieve from deportation and to receive permission to work, study and obtain driver’s licenses.” DACA came under a lot of scrutiny at the end of last year, when President Trump decided to end the program that protected, “nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation,” according to CNN. Anyways, there would be no way that any new immigrants would be protected under DACA.

The reason why he even mentions all of this is because of recent news of an immigrant caravan heading towards the US border. The caravan consists of about 1000 migrants, most from Honduras, and isn’t a unique case. The LA Times explains that, “The caravans are designed to bring awareness to the conditions that have prompted many people to flee Central America, as well as the dangers migrants face once they’re on the road.” However, this particular caravan managed to draw the attention and subsequent wrath of the US president.

President Trump called for the National Guard to be deployed at the border to combat the,“lawlessness that continues at our southern border.” However many states have declined to send their troops in support of President Trump: Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. The other 47 states have either stalled or refused, which is understandable considering what the National Guard will actually do at the border.

The Washington Post explains the true mission of the National Guard at the border.

“The Pentagon offered new details Monday about the types of activities National Guard troops would perform while deployed by President Trump to the U.S.-Mexico border, but critical questions remain about how long the operation will last and how much it will cost.

National Guard troops will provide air support through drones and light-, medium- and heavy-lift helicopters, Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Defense Department spokesman, said in a statement to The Washington Post. They will also help maintain roads and other infrastructure, clear vegetation and assist with facility maintenance, in addition to operating surveillance systems, including cameras and blimps, Davis said.

They will not be arresting migrants or carrying out armed patrols along the border.”

Each time a president deploys the national guard, it costs a lot of money. During the Bush administration, ‘Operation Jump Start’ cost about $1.2 billion and deployed around 6,000 troops. During the Obama administration, ‘Operation Phalanx’ cost about $110 million and deployed around 1,200 troops. The money comes out of the defense budget, but considering the amount of debt this country is in, is it wise to be spending so much money? For President Trump’s plan to deploy the National Guard, it would cost about $100,000 per troop.

In conclusion, the money that would be spent funding this would be better spent elsewhere, such as combating the opioid epidemic, improving the American education system, or helping feed the millions of Americans who go hungry: approximately 48.8 million.

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