Hundreds of National Guard troops on Friday began deploying to the Rio Grande Valley to guard the Southwest border, after President Donald Trump last week urged their activation, saying our border is lawless and allows anyone to come through.
“Our country has no effective border laws,” Trump tweeted.
We’ve played this song before, in 2014 when then Gov. Rick Perry activated 1,000 National Guard troops to our region as an uptick in illegal immigrants swelled through South Texas. At the time, we noted the restrictions that National Guard troops faced - not able to make actual apprehensions or arrests; not able to give chase. And so we ask how this time it will be better?
We also worry about the implications and perceptions to the rest of the world that militarizing the Southwest border will have on our communities.
Trump asked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and governors from the other Southwest border states of California, New Mexico and Arizona to activate National Guard troops last week.
Department of Homeland Security Press Secretary Tyler Q. Houlton issued a statement Friday saying “the crisis at our Southwest border is real.
Rather than paint our region with a wide and disparaging brush, the burden of responsibility needs to fall squarely on the shoulders of those in Congress who have for decades failed to pass meaningful immigration reform.
New laws are needed that would allow the best and the brightest from other nations to legally seek the American dream by quickly becoming taxpaying American citizens who could contribute to our economy and our society. Laws are needed that will better thwart those with nefarious intentions, like those pushing drugs and human trafficking, from entering our borders.
Activating the National Guard just seems like a way to stir up Trump’s base.