Monday, November 12, 2018

Trump Deploys Troops to Southern Border


By Courage to Resist.  October 23, 2018
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, once again declared that active duty US military personnel need to be deployed to the southern border in order to repel, “the assault on our country.” (, October 18, 2018)
October 25, 2018 update: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis today authorized 800 active-duty troops, to bolster the roughly 2,100 National Guardsmen who have already been sent to the border.

It’s easy to attack a ragtag group of immigrants, traveling in a public caravan, seeking asylum, and this kind of rhetoric plays well to his anti-immigration base, leading up to the midterm elections. However, it’s more than just rhetoric.
This summer, the Trump Administration ordered the military to detain tens of thousands of immigrants in tent cities across the United States. Eight military installations were identified, primarily those near the southern border with unused air strips. The military agreed, and the Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services (HHS) got onboard.
Military brass suggested that these camps would not violate the constitutional prohibition against using the military to police and enforce domestic immigration law, based on the fact that the military has occasionally provided shelter to people during humanitarian crises, for short periods of time. Apparently, because the military helped out a bit following a hurricane then long term immigrant concentration camps are just fine.

According to the Military Times (October 2, 2018), HHS has completed site surveys at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas; Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas; Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas; and Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas. The Associated Press (July 31, 2018) noted that the “Defense Department has completed legal and environmental requirements needed to create housing at San Angelo’s Goodfellow Air Force Base for unaccompanied children.”
HHS personnel will presumably run the camps along with private security corporations. The military’s role is usually described in terms of logistical support so as to minimize the unconstitutional aspects of this entirely immoral endeavor. Here’s how we described the situation back in September:

In addition to providing the land, military personnel will construct the camps while private agencies will manage the operations. While this simplified explanation of operations seeks to minimize the military’s role, it omits the endless capacities in which the armed forces will surely be facilitating the functioning of these camps such as water, electricity, sewage, and trash. Additional operational problems include the difficulty of housing persons in restricted access bases who legally need access to immigration and civil liberty lawyers, secure areas to discuss their cases, as well as access for advocates, relatives, news media and political activists. Another issue is the lack of state licensing requirements, such as health and building codes, which military locations enable the government to avoid.

Faced with a few stumbling blocks to their plan, including legal rulings and local community resistance, the governmental players are, for the moment, delaying the buildout of these camps. They’re instead opting to exponentially expand HHS’s tent city in Tornillo, Texas, which is near El Paso. Tornillo housed about 400 children this summer. It’s now expected to reach a capacity of nearly 4,000 by the end of the year. There are another 9,000 unaccompanied children currently held at smaller shelters across the country.

We need to reach the troops with this simple challenge: Do not collaborate with the illegal immigrant detention camps.
With your help, we’re spending one penny per military service member–$20,000–on a strategic outreach campaign.

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