The Trump administration’s primary goals behind deploying the National Guard to the southern border is to stem the tide of aliens crossing into the United States illegally, and send the message that the administration is serious about using all legal means available to secure the border.
Early results indicate that this approach is working, as the deployment has resulted in an additional 1,600 illegal alien arrests at or near the border in just over two weeks, according to the Washington Examiner.
This success has occurred despite the fact that only 775 of the requested 4,000 troops have been deployed so far. At a pace of 3,200 additional arrests per month already, that number could spike considerably if more troops are provided.
“Those folks are giving us the additional situational awareness in the radio rooms… which are allowing the Border Patrol agents sitting in those areas to go into the field,” said a National Guard official.
National Guard troops do not carry out law enforcement duties. However, they are trained to provide aerial and ground surveillance support that frees up Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers to go into the field, where they are most effective. This support is vital as CBP is severely short-staffed – with a nationwide shortage of more than 3,000 officers – thanks to years of neglect under previous administrations.
While deploying the National Guard to the border provides much-needed help to overwhelmed Border Patrol officers, it will not single-handedly fix the issue of illegal immigration into the United States. Congress is still refusing to fund important border security measures such as an effective border fence. Instead, many members on both sides of the aisle are trying to exacerbate the issue by forcing a vote on legislation that would make DACA permanent. DACA is a major incentive to immigrate illegally into the United States.
So while it’s encouraging to see positive steps taken toward securing the border, those efforts must be complemented by interior immigration reforms to be fully effective.