Defending America at the Border
The corporate media in the USA is extremely powerful and dumbs down all Americans. They want cheap labor pouring across US borders to drive down wages so they invent simple phrases to confuse Americans. "We are a nation of immigrants" is a meaningless phrase used to end rational discussion about what is best for the American people. England and Mexico are also nations of immigrants. In fact, most scientists agree that man originated from a spot in Africa, so every nation on Earth is a nation of immigrants and everyone's ancestors were immigrants. Even the misnamed "native Americans" came from Asia.
Most US citizens are native Americans -- they were born here and are not immigrants! They not demanding new immigration laws, they just want the federal government to enforce existing laws. If the nation needs more immigrants, quotas can rise and those selected screened for diseases, criminal records, and motives. People who break the law by entering the US illegally, then break more laws by working illegally using false identification do not qualify as potential good citizens. To keep the gates for cheap labor open, corporate television along with corporate sponsored politicians use irrational slogans to convince many Americans that putting US troops on the border is unconstitutional, illegal, impractical, dangerous, and futile. Let us review these myths:
Myth #1 The US Constitution prohibits posting US troops on the border.
The US Constitution says no such thing. In fact, Article VI states:
Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.
So the US Constitution clearly requires the federal government to protect states from invasion. Almost a million aliens illegally pouring across the border into states each year is clearly an invasion.
Myth #2 The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits US troops from guarding US borders.
This 1878 act was enacted to prevent Union troops from continuing to enforce federal laws in the defeated South after the American Civil war. Here is the text as modified by Congress in recent years:
Sec. 1385. - Use of Army and Air Force as posse comitatus
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
Guarding US borders from foreign invasion is not "law enforcement." The US Army exists to defend the USA from foreign invasion, which is expressly authorized by the US Constitution. Guarding the Mexican border was the Army's primary peacetime mission until 1940 and no one ever declared this was in violation of this 1878 act. The US Border Patrol wasn't even formed until 1924, so claiming the intent of this law was to prevent US Army troops from guarding the border is absurd. The map at left shows US Army forts in Texas in the late 1880s when the entire US Army had fewer than 40,000 soldiers; it has 500,000 today. Clearly, defending the US border was a primary mission of the US Army for decades after this act was passed.
Some may argue that Chapter 18, Section 375 of Title 10 US Code prevents military personnel from direct participation in law enforcement. However, defending US borders from foreign invaders is not law enforcement, it's the basic purpose of the US military. While defending these United States from invasion, civilian law enforcement may be called upon to assist the US military. Does anyone believe the Border Patrol must operate fighter aircraft because the US Air Force can't intercept aircraft crossing into the US because that's "law enforcement"?
When you read about proposals in Congress to put US troops on the border, those are not proposals to allow US troops on the border, but proposals to force the President to put troops back on the border. However, recent Presidents have listened to their corporate advisors and their slogans and ignored the threat of unsecured US borders.
Myth #3 The National Guard should guard the border, not active duty troops.
The National Guard is an organized militia to deal with state and national emergencies. Guarding the US border is a full-time mission that the federal government is required to perform by Article IV of the US Constitution. The few states along the border shouldn't be expected to defend the entire country from invasion. This myth is also spread by Army Generals who prefer to rule an empire overseas than to defend their own citizens.
Whenever citizens demand the Army protect their nation, Generals dodge this issue by stating that it may be a mission for the National Guard, so as not to waste resources of the US Army. This is absurd; the primary mission of the US Army is to protect US citizens and the US Constitution requires the federal government to protect states from invasion. If there is a major war and the Army would like to deploy its border troops overseas, then National Guard troops from any state can be mobilized to guard the border until the war ends.
Myth #4 The US Army hasn't the resources for border troops.
The active duty army has 500,000 full-time troops supported by over 300,000 civilians. The Border Patrol has 21,000 agents. Certainly, the Army can assign 10,000 troops to actually defend the USA, or Congress can authorize more troops. There are several US military bases along the border that can host an infantry battalion for border security: NAS Whidbey Island, WA; Minot AFB, SD; Selfridge ARNG base, MI; Fort Drum, NY; Laughlin AFB, TX; Fort Bliss, TX; Fort Huachuca, AZ, Yuma Proving Grounds, AZ; and NAS El Centro, CA; plus several military facilities in the San Diego area. Some Army officers may express concern that border duty will hurt readiness for Army missions overseas. They don't understand that defending the USA is their primary mission!
Myth #5 Soldiers aren't trained for such missions
Soldiers are ideally trained to guard remote areas of the border. All they need are a few days of orientation training and to learn some Spanish or French phrases they can shout into a bullhorn: "Stop, you cannot enter the United States here, go back!" They will not process arrestees, fill out paperwork, search houses, run checkpoints, appear in court, or conduct investigations. They just confront people who they directly view invading the USA and insist that foreign intruders turn back or face arrest by the Border Patrol.
This will prevent odd incidents like in 1997 when a US Marine on drug war duty near the border shot a local goat herder who had fired in his direction. Some suspect this young herder was paid by drug dealers to provoke an incident in hopes of getting the Marines removed. He succeeded, but didn't expect to die. The Marines were there because the President had authorized their use after Army Generals refused. The Marine shooter was there on temporary duty and did not view the goat herder entering the USA illegally. The establishment of orientation training and strict rules of engagement can ensure that US troops have no contact with US citizens.
Myth #6 Illegal immigration cannot be stopped
Of course it can. There is no illegal immigration from North to South Korea because that border is heavily guarded. Perhaps some of the 28,000 US troops there can transfer to the US border. Guarding the border will not stop the hundreds of thousands of visitors who overstay their visas in the USA, but at least they were checked and inspected prior to arrival. The Border Patrol estimates that 500,000 unknown persons slipped past them last year, cutting that to 5000 a year is not unrealistic. Some claim that illegals will just find another way to cross. However, most illegals cannot obtain a visa or shopping pass because they haven't an address and job.
The Border Patrol Needs Help
While the corporate media keeps Americans confused with slogans, it rarely reports on the problems of illegal immigration, except for Bill O'Reily and Lou Dobbs. As a result, few Americans know that most of the US border is not guarded and vehicles routinely drive across. In May 2002, the US Immigration and Naturalization Service was required to pay back wages and cancel suspension and demotion orders for two Border Patrol agents who told a newspaper about security problems along the US-Canadian border. The agents, assigned to the INS field office in Detroit, were recommended for discipline after they told the Detroit Free Press that Michigan's border lacked the resources to adequately protect the country from terrorists. Agents Mark Hall and Robert Lindemann said the 804 miles of shoreline border were guarded by 28 field agents, one working boat, several damaged electronic sensors and one broken remote camera. Keep in mind that these 28 field agents must cover that 804 miles of border 24 hours a day, seven days a week, plus days off for vacation or illness. So there are only about six on duty at any given time, or three teams of two. Then when a team catches someone, they must transport and book him, so they're gone for hours.
Another major problem is that guarding remote areas of the border is a tough mission, which is not compatible with the unionized Border Patrol. They prefer to work 8-hour shifts and their union contract requires the government to provide them with proper meals and lodging when away from home. Since it can take hours to reach remote areas from the nearest Border Patrol station, it's not practical to guard vast areas of the border. As a result, agents set up roadblocks or cruise around roadways rounding up who they can. This is much more interesting than standing a post along the border all day. However, the effort becomes pointless as it requires hours for the Border Patrol to process each arrested alien, who is then released on the other side of the border and walks back across for another try. In some urban sectors, the Border Patrol has focused on deterrence by placing most agents right on the border to stand guard. However, this becomes boring, which accounts for the high turnover rate among Border Patrol agents.
Another reason much of the border is not patrolled is that it's too dangerous. In 2002, six Mexican Army Hummers were two miles inside US territory when Mexican soldiers fired over 150 rounds from vehicle-mounted machine guns and a dozen MK-19 40mm grenade rounds at two US Border Patrol agents investigating narcotics trafficking in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife refuge north of Sasebe, Arizona. It is well known that some of the Mexican Army is involved in drug smuggling and Mexican troops are frequently encountered on the US side of the border in remote areas; see the great movie "Traffic" with Michael Douglas. In 2002, a US Park Ranger was killed when drug smugglers sprayed him with bullets from an AK-47, which struck him just below his bulletproof vest. With rogue Mexican army troops chasing off Border Patrol agents, Park Rangers wearing bulletproof vests, and thousands of recently deported criminal aliens walking back across, isn't it time for the US Army to return to the border?
Two-term Republican Rep. Rick Renzi, in a January 2006 letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said reports of Mexican military units providing armed escorts to drug and alien smuggling operations represent "narco-terrorism in its purest form. Our borders are under attack by sophisticated organizations that have no qualms about firing on our Border Patrol units. As we get tougher and more committed, so do the organizations committed to smuggling death and terror across our borders." Mr. Renzi said that during a tour of the Arizona border in a US Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) helicopter, the pilot showed him military-style Humvees lining up at dusk just south of the border to move drugs into the USA. He said the preparations occur nightly, noting that 50 percent of the drugs coming into this country pass though the Arizona desert.
Border Patrol agents are so busy rounding up aliens that they haven't the time, equipment, nor motivation to conduct dangerous squad-size combat patrols into the wilderness. Most Border Patrol agents are hard working and dedicated, but the US Army is better organized for conducting combat patrols and continual surveillance along remote areas of the border. Once the Army sends squads to watch remote areas of the border, Army Generals will be shocked at the number of firefights that break out. Armed smugglers have used routes through remote areas for decades and will be surprised to encounter soldiers who are undeterred by their AK-47s.
The Army will only guard rural border areas and only detain people they observe crossing illegally until Border Patrol agents arrive. This will allow the Border Patrol to focus on running checkpoints, guarding urban areas, and processing arrestees. This is no small task considering the Border Patrol has made over ten million arrests since the 9-11 terror attacks, including thousands of Arabs.
Squads of soldiers can deploy to the field for days at a time. A pattern of 72 hours in the field, 72 hours off duty, then 72 hours in garrison for admin and training will work great. This allows an infantry battalion with four line companies to rotate three of them so one is always guarding the border. Each company will go "off line" three months a year for leave, and some traditional infantry training to break up the routine. Since soldiers are transferred every three or four years, they will not face the boring prospect of watching the border for 30 years like Border Patrol agents.
Each border infantry battalion should be supported by a helicopter detachment for emergency medivacs and to move a reaction squad to where shooting has broken out. Some areas may be so remote that helicopters will be needed to rotate squads every three days. However, in most cases troops will be deployed to screen the flanks of border crossings to thwart the common game of just walking around a checkpoint and meeting the up with their driver down the road. Squads are likely to rotate to different posts each month to keep border duty interesting.
This will provide great training for soldiers. Unlike canned peacetime exercises, the border is real and unpredictable. Border troops would become experts in map reading, surveillance, field living, and stealthy movement. Their goal would not be to arrest aliens, but to confront aliens near the border and turn them back. Anyone who is suspicious or uncooperative can be detained for the Border Patrol. Soldiers would enjoy the mission of actually protecting the USA, and probably engage in a few shoot outs during their border tour of duty. The first year of border duty would be especially chaotic as soldiers regain control of the wild frontier. Eventually, word would spread that crossing the US border is very difficult and problem would subside.
Rules of Engagement
Four rules of engagement can ensure that soldiers do not clash with innocent US citizens:
1) Soldiers will not enter private property without permission of the landowner.
The Border Patrol is legally allowed to enter private property along the border without permission. Most landowners are happy that someone is protecting their property. However, a few would protest if US troops camp out on their land, and radical groups would sue claiming 3rd Amendment rights are violated. So its best to leave those few alone and let the Border Patrol deal with each issue. There have been cases where smugglers purchased US property on the border to help their operations, so they'd object to US troops. Since a quarter of the land along the Mexican border is already federal property, US troops can stay busy just guarding federal lands. Patrolling American parks along the border has become so dangerous that park rangers are twice more likely to suffer injuries from an assault than DEA agents overseas.
2) Soldiers will only conduct surveillance on Mexico, Canada, or international waters to detect persons entering the USA illegally. They will not conduct intelligence missions at targets within the USA, even at the request of law enforcement agencies.
Many law enforcement agencies work along the border and may ask soldiers to keep an eye on a certain house or building or person they are investigating on the US side of the border. This may seem harmless, but it's not a role for soldiers. If soldiers see a crime in progress, they should report that immediately and intervene if lives are at stake, but they must not become involved in law enforcement investigations or domestic surveillance.
3) Soldiers will only confront or detain persons who they directly observe entering the USA illegally. They will not confront or detain persons who they suspect have crossed the border illegally.
This would eliminate accidental confrontations between local citizens, unless a US citizen knowingly breaks the law by attempting to enter the US illegally, which is probably because he is involved in other illegal activities. Sometimes soldiers would spot a suspicious group of people on the US side who they didn't observe crossing the border. They may be 99% certain this group slipped across the border, but they cannot be certain, so all they can do is to radio the information to the Border Patrol. This restriction would ensure soldiers have no contact with local citizens while on duty, except with property owners along the border who have given permission to guard their land.
4) Soldiers will not directly assist other government agencies along the border on a routine basis.
Some Army officers and government officials may decide that Army manpower can help guard the border by assisting other agencies. For example, helping search cars and trucks, guarding prisoners, or assisting in raids. However, this is not a role for the Army or soldiers. There would be occasional emergencies or natural disasters where soldiers help out like they do near all Army bases. However, soldiers should not be used as a federal manpower pool.
While the Army bureaucracy churns out paperwork about "transformation" the greatest need is for the Army to defend the US border. While Americans were shocked when 3000 citizens were killed by the 9-11 terror attacks, more Americans have been killed by illegal aliens since then. While they may not be more violent than US citizens, if they cannot cross the border they cannot harm Americans. Most people who illegally cross the border are desperate and do whatever it takes to survive. That may require fake IDs, identify theft, shoplifting, robbery, or the transport and sale of narcotics.
As the US tracks international terrorists, restricts visas from certain countries, and tightens port security, future terrorists are more likely to just walk across the unguarded border. While some people worry about China's military, they should worry about the thousands of former Chinese soldiers that slip across the border each year. Placing troops back on the border would require orders from the US President, yet it is doubtful that Army Generals have made proposals. In contrast, Generals continue to spread the myths described in this article. The United States has the only army on Earth that thinks defending its nation from invasion is not their role. It is time for the US Army to transform and assign 2% of its manpower to its basic mission of defending the USA from invasion.