Green-Go?Aug 2nd, 2010 | By Michel Marizco | Category: General News, Immigration, Politics
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THE BORDER REPORT
I was hoping this week would be a good opportunity to take a closer look at the Obama Administration’s movement of 1,200 National Guard units to the Mexico border. According to this Arizona Republic article, it’s gonna be a few weeks.* The first question I have is, why.
While I continue to believe that the National Guard movement is for Americans’ peace of mind (those not living in border states, anyway) and not to stop illegal immigration or drug trafficking, I’d like to point out the astuteness of the story; the administration said Aug. 1. Apparently they meant they were going to start addressing the movement of troops on that day.
The second question, of course, is what are they going to be doing? We are told the Guard units will free up agents to focus on illegal migrants and narcos and that’s great, but what does that mean? That the Guard units will be patrolling? So the Guard will act like spotters and the Border Patrol will act like chasers? Is this the plan?
Because I thought that’s what the $50 million in remote video surveillance system spent this year was for. That money, by the way, came from Recovery Act funding after Homeland was forced to scrap its ambitious plans for SBINet.
If 2006 is any indication, allow me to explain what the Guard will be doing on the border. I’m on the road and doing this from memory but I won’t easily forget the tasks the Guardsmen were assigned to do when they were here last time.
1. They will take the place of existing engineers with the Army Corps of Engineers and dig wells.
2. Others will draw maps of the U.S.-Mexico border, as if this is some new Lunar outpost that’s never before been cartographed.
3. The … intelligence … units will be composed of bilingual teams who will read Mexican newspapers and web sites (Bienvenidos!) and draw up analyses based off those reports. Using the U.S. State Department’s Morning Report – which does the same task, though far better, and is sent to every federal law enforcement supervisor ranked GS-13 and above, already – would make too much fiscal sense.
The last time we tried this, the U.S. suffered its biggest defeat since the Alamo after a group of Sasabe-based drug traffickers walked up to a Guard observation post, presumably to see what they’d do. Under orders, the Guardsmen retreated and called Border Patrol in. They later received a commendation for the effort. This time around, Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano has asked that the units be armed and they will be, though they’ll only be able to fire in self-defense.
Arizona will be receiving 524 of the 1,200 Guardsmen; in my opinion, they’d be best put to use as a single mobile deterrent force, a wall of green able to move randomly from one section of border to the next on a moment’s notice, disrupting the smugglers’ tactics and keeping them guessing as to where the wall will show up next. An Operation Hold the Line on a micro-scale. But that’s just me. We’ll see what happens next.
*Credit should have gone to the Arizona Republic, which broke the story, and not The New York Times.