President Trump is proposing to send National Guard troops to the Southern border, apparently in response to reports about a 'caravan' of migrants making its way through Mexico toward the United States. Under pressure, the Mexican government has moved to break up part of the caravan, but it looks like some number of these would-be asylum-seekers -- mainly from Honduras -- will continue northward. As a result, Trump says major action is needed to defend America's southern boundary:
The White House said Tuesday night that President Trump planned to deploy the National Guard to the southern border to confront what it called a growing threat of illegal immigrants, drugs and crime from Central America after the president for the third consecutive day warned about the looming dangers of unchecked immigration. Mr. Trump’s advisers said Monday that he was readying new legislation to block migrants and asylum seekers, including young unaccompanied children, from entering the United States, opening a new front in the immigration crackdown that he has pressed since taking office. But in remarks on Tuesday that caught some of his top advisers by surprise, he suggested the more drastic approach of sending in the military to do what immigration authorities could not.
The president tweeted the following message this morning:
Our Border Laws are very weak while those of Mexico & Canada are very strong. Congress must change these Obama era, and other, laws NOW! The Democrats stand in our way - they want people to pour into our country unchecked....CRIME! We will be taking strong action today.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 4, 2018
Critics of Trump's threat argue it would amount to a 'militarization' of the border that would constitute a gross overreaction and would waste resources. Defenders say that a growing shortage of border patrol agents and the laborious paperwork associated with processing each captured illegal immigrant merits an influx of "boots on the ground" to share the workload and streamline this national security-related undertaking. Regardless of one's view of the wisdom or necessity of Trump's National Guard idea, anti-Trump hyperbolists should avoid making the knee-jerk argument that such a move would be "unprecedented" or represent some sort of unthinkable abuse. CNN looks at some recent precedent for this potential action, which spans the previous two presidential administrations -- one Republican and one Democratic:
The idea of deploying the National Guard to help enforcement along the border is nothing new. President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama both did it, in two operations that cost a total of more than $1.3 billion. Critics called those deployments costly and inefficient. Supporters said they helped US Customs and Border Protection fill in gaps and step up enforcement.
Recent precedent for presidents deploying national guard troops to the southern border -- via CNN: pic.twitter.com/l8NYR94Dm7— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) April 4, 2018
I'll leave you with my segment on America's Newsroom this morning, in which I mentioned these Bush- and Obama-era actions, and analyzed Trump's immigration posture more generally: