The Pentagon is reportedly sending some 5,000 active duty soldiers to the U.S. border with Mexico. This deployment to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California is being pushed by President 45 because of several thousand Central Americans who plan to legally seek asylum in the U.S.
Just what the troops will do once they get to the border states is still unclear. A few thousand federalized National Guard troops were deployed earlier this year. Some 2,100 guard members are still operating along the border.
The role of active duty troops on the border, especially in such large numbers, have both national and border state implications.
What the soldiers might and might not do depends on what are the president’s intention and what nutty ideas comes to mind once he awakens each morning.
A 19th century law known as the Posse Comitatus Act generally limits what U.S. troops can do in a civil role. The law states: “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.” — Title 18 U.S.C. › Part I › Chapter 67 › § 1385
This law has been amended several times, the most glaring being the addition of the Air Force in 1956. Some key exceptions to the law:
–National Guard forces operating under the state authority of Title 32 (i.e., under state rather than federal service) are exempt from the Act.
–Pursuant to the presidential power to quell domestic violence,federal troops are expressly exempt from the prohibitions of the law.
–Aerial photographic and visual search and surveillance by military personnel were found not to violate the Posse Comitatus Act.
–Congress created a “drug exception” to the Posse Comitatus Act.
Under recent legislation, the Congress authorized the Secretary
of Defense to make available any military equipment and personnel necessary for operation of said equipment for law
enforcement purposes. Thus, the Army can provide equipment,
training, and expert military advice to civilian law enforcement
agencies as part of the total effort in the “war on drugs.”
–Use of a member of the Judge Advocate Corps as a special assis-
tant prosecutor, while retaining his dual role in participating in
the investigation, presentation to the grand jury, and prosecu-
tion, did not violate Posse Comitatus Act.
–The Coast Guard is exempt from Posse Comitatus Act during
–Although brought under the Act through Defense Department regulation, described above, the Navy may assist the Coast Guard in pursuit, search, and seizure of vessels suspected of involvement in drug trafficking.
That U.S. military forces are generally limited to what they can do –would the military or other law enforcement use unprovoked force? — are among the national concerns.
As for my state, Texas, the more than 1,000 active duty military troops that may end up at the Mexican border from near Brownsville to El Paso might seemingly end up tripping over the other authorities sent there.
Some news reports have quoted local residents along the lower Rio Grande saying that after being stopped by the DPS for questionable reasons, those same folks might get stopped again a mile down the road by another trooper.
As this border arms race isn’t sufficient, airborne assets add to what may seem to be a cramped existence on the border. Texas DPS, game wardens and Border Patrol have their own planes and helicopters. That is not to mention those aircraft from the U.S. Coast Guard and Texas Air National Guard.
It will be interesting to see what kind of useless crap this administration dreams up for the border. The only way one can see **45s actions is that of political overkill. Hopefully, the “kill” part will be absent from the duty of U.S. military and law enforcement.
**This blog refuses to use the president’s name as a means of separation from him and the office he holds.
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