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Both Presidents Before Trump Sent the National Guard to the Southern Border

Both Presidents Before Trump Sent the National Guard to the Southern Border

“Militarizing the border” is not a new concept

The migrant caravan marching up from Central America through Mexico stirred the U.S. immigration debate, becoming emblematic of the southern border neglect.

Some 1,200 people, mostly from Honduras, planned to traverse Mexico and make their way to the U.S. southern border where they would sneak on to U.S. soil or seek asylum.

The caravan is an annual spring event, but this year, thanks to a contentious Honduran election, the caravan is the largest one yet. Currently, the caravan is stalled in southern Mexico and will end their journey in Mexico City.

“The immediate trouble is a lack of transportation to get the group to the next stop, the city of Puebla en route to the Mexican capital. Organizers have been searching for a way to safely move the roughly 1,000 people,” reports The Washington Post. Organizers say those still hoping to make their way the U.S. will have to do so on their own.

Nonetheless, 1,200 believing they can easily gain access to America by exploiting southern border vulnerabilities and generous immigration laws has rankled Republicans, and Trump in particular. “The caravan doesn’t irritate me, the caravan makes me very sad that this could happen to the United States,” said Trump.

In response, Trump promised to guard “our border with our military.”

Trump was immediately accused of “militarizing the border” as though preventing a veritable invasion is a negative use of military might.

What critics fail to discuss is that sending military forces to the southern border is not a novel idea. Both Presidents George W. Bush and Obama sent the National Guard to the southern border to support Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Agents.

In both cases, the National Guard served as support, leaving enforcement to (CBP).

Operation Jump Start

In 2006, President Bush sent approximately 6,000 National Guard members to the southern border to assist CBP. The operation lasted two years.

…the President called for up to 6,000 National Guard members to assist with surveillance, installing fences and vehicle barriers, as well as provide training. This support mission, Operation Jump Start, will provide significant assistance to securing the southern U.S. border during the next two years.


CBP Border Patrol and the National Guard coordinated with the state governors and adjutants general to deploy National Guard troops in support of Border Patrol operations. This unprecedented cooperative effort has resulted in the deployment of 6,000 National Guard personnel to California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Deployment numbers are based on operational need and threat.

This two-year deployment supplements and supports current efforts while CBP hires and trains 6,000 additional Border Patrol agents and implements the Secure Border Initiative and SBInet.

Badges Back to the Border

National Guard units assist CBP by executing logistical and administrative support, operating detection systems, providing mobile communications, augmenting border-related intelligence analysis efforts, and building and installing border security infrastructure.

Operation Jump Start relieves Border Patrol agents from non-law enforcement duties, allowing them to focus on border security. To date more than 350 Border Patrol agents have been able to return to traditional frontline duties due to the presence of the Guard.

Operation Phalanx

In 2010, President Obama sent around 1,200 National Guard members to the southern border as a continuation of Operation Jump Start. Operation Phalanx wasn’t shut down until November of 2016.

From the U.S. Army:

The Army National Guard (ARNG) established Operation Phalanx in July 2010, based on an Executive Order from President Obama authorizing up to 1,200 Soldiers and Airmen along the 1,933-mile southwest border in support of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. Operation Phalanx is the successor operation to Operation Jump Start, which was declared by former President Bush authorizing up to 6,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from 2006 through 2008. Operation Phalanx, scheduled to end in June 2011, provides support primarily from the Southwest Border States of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

The National Guard Soldiers and Airmen assigned to Operation Phalanx have been serving as a force multiplier for the U.S. Border Patrol by spotting border intrusions and providing technical support. The National Guard has performed tasks such as ground surveillance, criminal investigative analysis, command and control, mobile communications, transportation, logistics, and training support.

According to, Phalanx was credited with intercepting some 110,000 would-be border crossers.

Trump has yet to release details of his plans to sent military assistance to the southern border, but if he does, he will join his predecessors in employing military support to border defense.

Update: Looks like Trump will also deploy the National Guard


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JusticeDelivered | April 4, 2018 at 3:15 pm

We need to amend or repeal the 14th Amendment in order to fix the anchor baby problem. Penalties for illegal entry need to be severe enough that illegals will return to Mexico, thereby saving costs of apprehending them. Start by sizing all assets of illegals and expelling them as total paupers, as opposed to the liquiding and leaving on their own with assets.

    stevewhitemd in reply to JusticeDelivered. | April 4, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Well no.

    1) there is no need to be nasty or punitive with illegal immigrants. They can keep what they have, they just need to return to their countries of origin.

    2) recall why we have the 14th Amendment — it was to prevent a future federal government, and state governments, from being able to declare people born on our soil as less than citizens. This was originally done to prevent states from saying that the newly freed slaves weren’t really citizens. It was extended (United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898)) to prevent states and the federal governments from declaring that people of other ethnicities weren’t citizens, even though they’d been born in the U.S.

    I challenge you to rewrite the 14A to fix the problem of “anchor babies” without denying the rights of legitimate U.S. citizens. I don’t think it can be done, and attempting to do so just opens Pandora’s box for mis-use in the future.

      The original issue has been resolved, and the relevant individuals grandfathered to qualify for citizenship. Today, the Fourteenth Amendment should be constrained to recognize a child born to a mother and father who are American citizens.

      tom_swift in reply to stevewhitemd. | April 4, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      there is no need to be … punitive with illegal immigrants.


      Perhaps if our immigration laws were mere suggestions, maybe.

        Obie1 in reply to tom_swift. | April 4, 2018 at 4:21 pm

        You have no doubt noted that they are treated as mere suggestions by a huge portion of the population and politicians.

      02sbxstr in reply to stevewhitemd. | April 4, 2018 at 4:34 pm

      “there is no need to be nasty or punitive with illegal immigrants. They can keep what they have, they just need to return to their countries of origin” Well, they can keep what they have after paying for their arrest and other costs incurred by the USA in removing them.

        Rick in reply to 02sbxstr. | April 4, 2018 at 4:59 pm

        We should be extremely severe with any illegal who return illegally after having been deported once before.

      gonzotx in reply to stevewhitemd. | April 4, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      Ireland did just recently

      DaveGinOly in reply to stevewhitemd. | April 4, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      Not all laws meant to mold human conduct “punish,” but that all have consequences. The consequences for coming here illegally are to be returned to your country of origin. It would be nice if children didn’t suffer from the illegal acts of their parents (but they do every time an American parent is sent to prison for law-breaking), but children shouldn’t benefit from their parents’ illegal acts either. That makes no sense.

      walls in reply to stevewhitemd. | April 6, 2018 at 2:15 am

      Well, yes.
      We need to be very nasty and very punitive, if only to discourage others from coming. What about deported illegals who come back again and again and again? What incentive do they have to “stay deported”?

      We need to deal with illegals with a “three strikes” mentality, and on the 3rd strike, I’d be in favor of execution. Drastic? Sure … but it would get the point across that we are serious about protecting our border. If an illegal has no respect for our laws, I have no respect for him.

    Assets? You gotta be kidding 😀

What was Gergen’s point in saying Trump sees the military as his play-toy then? Those two were real presidents, but Trump is not, so it’s different?

If it’s not obvious, I’m not a fan of Mr. Gergen or this most recent statement.

buckeyeminuteman | April 4, 2018 at 3:52 pm

Please, please, please send the national guard. It would be so much more fun than the usual, boring drill weekend. Why exactly is the national guard building runways in Chad, orphanages in Romania and dormitories in Israel when our nation is being infested by drugs and crime through the southern border.

buckeyeminuteman | April 4, 2018 at 3:57 pm

Also, how could we forget about President Eisenhower and Operation Wetback?

    That Op Wetback was a seriously good intervention for both countries, as was the wholly separate WWII initiated Braceros program of male guest workers on temporary and extendable 6 month work visas. Sadly, VP Nixon was not a great good will ambassador to South America in 1958. Too many bridges had been burnt cf Smedley Butler’s complaints about military interventionism.

    In a way our operations South of the Border from President Polk’s time onward are kinda like our failure in Viet Nam — in or out. Be in or be out. Maybe Texas should have been BIGGER, like the whole of Nuevo Leon, not just half.

    Op Wetback was LONGER, predated Ike, going back to FDR’s time and greatly involved Mexican Civil Authorities, and their leadership and police forces. See the great research paper of “The Crimes and Consequences of Illegal Immigration: A Cross-Border Examination of
    Operation Wetback, 1943 to 1954” by Kelly Lytle Hernandez, 2006.

    Smuggling of persons across borders in significant numbers is a threat to any nation’s internal peace, as it is a vector for criminality, criminal gangs — and a great promotional force for bribery and corruption in officials and establishments. Bad bad bad stuff. In WWII and after WII US and Mexican governments worked closely together and energetically together to forestall the rapidly developing strain on MEXICAN civil resources.

President Wilson did it with considerably more panache. A Dem, of course; the feud between Teddy and Taft let a Dem sneak in, in the 1912 election.

Bombarded and occupied Vera Cruz, too, just to show Victoriano Huerta he was serious about … something-or-other … it was sometimes hard to tell with Wilson. A “big picture” guy, but not too good on details.

One thing to remember about national Guard troops, they are not full time military personnel. They all have other jobs and a life. Everytime a NG unit gets called up, for an extended period of time, it places a hardship on that person, their family, their employer, their community, etc. The political optics of causing all of this disruption because Congress refuses to get off its duff and fund a wall that it authorized 20 years ago, is ridiculous.

    gonzotx in reply to Mac45. | April 4, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    But they all know going in it’s part of the gig

      DaveGinOly in reply to gonzotx. | April 4, 2018 at 5:30 pm

      Yup. That’s why military duty is called “sacrifice.”

      Mac45 in reply to gonzotx. | April 4, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      I love it when people show their ignorance by spouting bumper stick slogans like, “They knew what they were signing up for”.

      Their employers didn’t sign up for it. Nor did their customers or patients. The NG expects to be called up for national emergencies such as wars. It expects to be called up for state and local emergencies such as riots, natural disasters and things of that nature. They are not usually called up, especially for a long period of time, because politicians are simply to corrupt to do THEIR jobs.

      Also, these people actually have JOBS. They work in factories, stores, restaurants, auto repair shops, heating and air conditioning, law enforcement and firefighting. They work in hospitals, in doctors offices, in government jobs, etc. Some of them own their own businesses. In other words, to remove these people from these jobs, some of them critical, there has to be a really good reason. And, a lousy 1200 people walking through Mexico vowing to enter the US illegally, is not one of those really good reasons. Especially when , if activated for FEDERAL service, these troops can only keep the peace or provide the same services an illegal Mexican immigrant can provide. They are not allowed, by law, to enforce the law.

      Why call up National guard in this case? Because it makes for good political optics. Why is Trump doing this now? Because a whole bunch of yahoos, who call themselves Trump supporters were screaming for him to DO SOMETHING. They are seemingly so TERRIFIED of a crown the size of a small high school that they are advocating strafing these people with A-10s. Apparently, it is not just the left which is losing its mind.

      PERSPECTIVE. That is the key. A larger crowd than this invades Panama City for Spring Break, and we don’t call out the National Guard.

Let us not go off the rails on this topic. How about we reform our laws to match the laws of Mexico. Which, by the way, are not friendly to people who enter their county with out visas or proper documentation.

No troop deployment to the border ever succeeded in reducing illegal immigration. They are legally prohibited from arresting anyone. This is a law blog. Doesn’t anyone here know a bit about the law????

    Ragspierre in reply to dunce1239. | April 4, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    While I agree with the essence of you comment, it is a bit too broad. There’s a lot the NG personnel can do while on the border. Air assets are one BIG assist to regular LEOs. Having people just spotting goings-on is another. I would, however, add a few notes…

    1. it’s always been a palliative; it never lasts long, and it’s key virtue for pols is just PR

    2. as noted above, it’s expensive in many ways, including the impact on the personnel themselves

    3. it’s been used historically as a inordinate response to a “hair-on-fire” news meme, as here

    A good, intelligently designed border barrier (I advocate a fence system over a wall for many reasons) is long over-due. But in many places along our southern border even that is impractical and even unnecessary.

    But a MUCH better solution is to remove the gradient, as I’ve often said. By which I mean, make employment of illegals too expensive to entertain, deny all Federal funding for any form of welfare, and give LEOs the ability to question people they normally come in contact with about their status here in the U.S., coupled with the ability to detain anyone suspected of being here illegally until they can provide their bona fides. If they cannot after a reasonable time, they should face deportation. Make Federal funding of any LEO agency dependent on following that policy.

    Remember, about 40% of illegals here are “over-stayers” who had a visa, but who do not have a current legal status. They come from everywhere.

“They are seemingly so TERRIFIED of a crown the size of a small high school”

I thought you were making some very good points up until this drek.

The people of New Orleans weren’t terrified of one little wave, they were worried about all of the little waves that would soon drown their city.

As for the A-10s, I thought it was pretty obvious the speaker meant it as a metaphor for a much needed disincentive. The reason we have an illegal immigration problem is because they know our border control is a Paper Tiger

We need immigration, we are like the Borg. Adding their distinctive features to our culture is what has made America great.

But we have to have rules about immigration, and those rules need to be enforced. This really is nothing more than a broken window dilemma – if we don’t behave as if this were serious, then the illegals will not take us seriously.

I wonder if we are paralyzed by guilt. Much like the Germans but to a lesser degree. We are free and we are rich – we could have fixed the problems these refugees are fleeing with time energy and money. But that would have meant missing American Idol. So to compensate we look the other way and let a few million jump the fence. Well, not our fence, someone else’s fence, someone else’s father, someone else’s daughter. “Oh I’m so sorry for your loss but I just bought a guilt-free card and the next contestant is starting to sing”

    Mac45 in reply to Fen. | April 5, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    You are one of the people who were SCREAMING that the President had to stop these 1200 people or it was the end of the world, weren’t you? Well, the CBP interdicted 50,000 [50 times more than the number of people in this caravan] last month alone. And, the CBP reliably estimates that they interdict no more than 50% of those entering the country illegally. So, last month at least 50,000 illegal aliens enter the US [500x the number in this caravan]. And, the world did not end.

    New Orleans drowned because the idiots that lived there were living below sea level with levees [dikes if you will] keeping the water out of their homes. As anyone who has owned a car for any length of time can attest, everything built by man eventually breaks.

    As to brushing off the suggestion that A-10s should strafe these illegals as they attempted to cross the border as being a metaphor, it was not well thought out. What we really need is a serious barrier, electronic surveillance and sufficient manpower to stop a far greater percentage of people from entering. However, this does nothing to address the stupid catch and release laws or the lack of internal enforcement, especially against employers.

    While the lack of effective enforcement of immigration laws is a serious problem, for a variety of reasons, running around and waving your hands in the air while screaming that these people MUST be stopped at all costs, is not very productive. What is productive was the action taken by Trump, with regard to Mexico. The Mexican government, which had allowed the group to enter and traverse nearly half the length of the country, unopposed, suddenly stepped in when Trump suggested that the country could kiss any favorable trade agreement with the US goodbye if they did not act.

    The problem with many people who want a correction to and the strict enforcement of immigration laws is that they want it RFN. We have had this problem for the last 50+ years. We have it because the Establishment, including Establishment politicians, which is every politician in Washington except DJT, want the status quo to remain. So, you have a tremendous amount of inertia to overcome. This takes time.

    In the case of this caravan, if Trump had made noises about noting having the staffing to stop these people from entering the country, without a wall, and his supporters had sat back and allowed it to work itself out, then Trump could demagogue loudly that this was all the fault of the Republican led Congress. And, his supporters, that would be you and I, would add our voices to the chorus telling Republican, and Democrat politicians, that if they continued to choose foreigners who had entered this country illegally over the voting citizens who live here, then we will replace them with politicians who are willing to protect their constituents. Now we have nothing. No invasion. Mexico comes off looking like the hero because they stopped and dispersed this caravan before it got to the US. Trump looks like a fool for moving US troops to the southern border where they will end up doing little or nothing because they are barred from enforcing federal law, just like the last three times we have sent troops to the border. And, with Mexico helping us we obviously do not need a wall or additional CBP personnel. Never waste a crisis. It work for Progressives, it will work for us. And, these people really do not present much of a threat to the country.

Sorry for the self-righteous tone. I still look at American women and marvel that we could save an entire Somali Village from starvation from what she spends on cosmetics every month.

    tom_swift in reply to Fen. | April 5, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    we could save an entire Somali Village from starvation from what she spends

    No, we couldn’t. No one can. For cultural reasons endemic to East Africa, no problem can be solved by simply throwing money at it.

    Of course anyone can be mired in the Neolithic when his problems are social and cultural rather than technological or economic … but still, Africa is in a class by itself. And, by all indications, that’s where it will stay.

    It’s all very interesting from an anthropological perspective, but far too big a topic to treat by typing into this little box.

Floating under the radar:
UAE seeking to build and control port in Delaware. Vote is tomorrow.
National security risk!
Please call and tell them NO!

Frank Gaffney, Jr.

April 5, 2018 | [CSP Journal]

Keep the Port of Wilmington Out of Enemy Hands

How much would it be worth to Saddam Hussein’s nuclear bomb-maker to be able to control a major U.S. port through which he could secretly bring lethal weapons – or just about anything else – into this country? It turns out the answer is $589 million.

That’s how much a company co-owned by Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar’s family and a sheikh from the United Arab Emirates has agreed to pay to build and operate for the next fifty years a new shipping container facility in Wilmington, Delaware. Officials there are expected to approve this ominous arrangement tomorrow.

Twelve years ago, the idea of having a company from the UAE run American ports was wisely rejected. If anything, this one – known as Gulftainer – is even more worrisome.

Tell the Port of Wilmington: No deal for Gulftainer. Call Secretary Robert Coupe at 302-744-2680.

President Wilson sent troops over the border! But I guess that is OK, because he was a “Progressive”! [end sarcasm]