tags: , , , , AVEF, Press Releases

Trump National Guard Plan Blasted as Wasteful, Politically-Motivated, and a Misuse of U.S. Military Capabilities

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As Vox headline aptly puts it, “Trump is mobilizing the National Guard to the US-Mexico border for literally no good reason”

Following the White House announcement to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative. Below are excerpts from a just a few of these observers:

Dara Lind in Vox punctures the myth that the National Guard is needed to address a border crisis:“President Trump is signing a proclamation to authorize the use of state National Guard forces to protect the US-Mexico border — where inflows of immigrants are at historic lows … In March 2018, the last month for which statistics are available, Border Patrol agents caught 37,393 immigrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border. The month before President Obama mobilized the National Guard, 55,237 immigrants — one and a half times as many — had been apprehended. And the month before Bush did it, Border Patrol apprehended 126,538 immigrants. In other words, the threat was over three times worse … Furthermore, many of the people who are coming to the US right now are people who are trying to turn themselves in to Border Patrol as a way to seek legal status in the US. They’re unaccompanied children, or families, from Central America; they might be trying to claim asylum because they fear persecution or torture in their home countries.”

NYT editorial “Trump’s Irrational Border Plan”: “Like so many of the president’s decisions, the one to put troops on the border seems impulsive, spiteful and politically motivated … Mr. Trump is feeling heat from supporters who believed his pledge to build a wall paid for by Mexico. Not only has Mexico refused to fund this folly, Congress also thwarted him by approving only $1.6 billion for the project in a recent omnibus spending bill, rather than the $25 billion Mr. Trump sought. Despite opposing the wall, Democratic leaders offered to fund it if Mr. Trump backed a path to citizenship for 1.8 million DACA-eligible immigrants. He refused … Mr. Trump is once again demonstrating an inability to make sound, considered judgments about what’s needed to lead the nation and keep it safe.”

Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, a retired veteran of the Iraq war, to the New York Times: “We are so lucky here in this country when you look at our borders,” said. “We’ve got the Pacific on one side, the Atlantic on the other and allies to the north and the south. Mexico is not an adversary. Why would you present this offensive barrier to a friendly country?”

James G. Stavridis, a retired four-star admiral who commanded United States forces in Europe and Latin America, as reported by the New York Times: “Military leaders have long opposed sending National Guard troops to the border. ‘There is a significant opportunity cost,’ said James G. Stavridis, a retired four-star admiral who commanded United States forces in Europe and Latin America, adding that troops sent to the border with Mexico — ostensibly an American ally — would ‘miss important training opportunities for their real primary mission — combat.’”

Truman National Security Project (Made up of  post-9/11 veterans, 1,700 national security leaders, frontline civilians, policy experts, and political professionals): “U.S. military personnel are trained warfighters, not law enforcement or border control officers. Moreover, they have too many critical missions around the world for deploying indefinitely along a 1,954 mile border to be an efficient or strategic use of people, funding, and material resources. While it is true that previous presidents have mobilized the National Guard for border defense, the White House has not clarified if that was what President Trump intended to communicate; even if it was, any such plans will still need to be assessed in the context of his demonization of immigrants, tensions with Mexico, and tendency to ignore legal precedents and restrictions.”

KJZZ Arizona NPR, “Border Sheriffs Concerned About Trump’s Plan To Militarize Border”: “Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said his team wasn’t contacted, nor were the sheriffs for Yuma or Santa Cruz counties. ‘How those assets would be coordinated with local law enforcement … I think is a major concern to county sheriffs… We would have the military in our respective counties … It’d be nice if, especially for a border sheriff … when the Trump administration is considering things like this that we would touch base with the people on the ground there.”