WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration is considering mobilizing military personnel at the U.S.-Mexico border following a meeting the president had with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other senior officials Tuesday, claiming a need for military presence until a border wall is completed.
The White House released a statement Tuesday night citing the need to protect national security amidst a “growing influx of illegal immigration,” and Trump called for the border to be guarded by military personnel until a border wall – on which serious questions about practicality and effectiveness remain – is complete.
The purported sense of urgency, however, is misplaced – net immigration from Mexico is negative, and prior to this week’s statements the administration frequently touted the decrease in border crossings that puts Border Patrol arrests at a 46-year low. And of the unauthorized immigrants arriving in the U.S. in the past decade, the majorityhave arrived via ports of entry rather than via illegal border crossings that a border wall could prevent.
“Not only is Trump’s plan to militarize our border impractical and wasteful, it’s built on a blatant mischaracterization of what’s happening at our border,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Rather than fixating on a wall that spans miles of desert less frequently crossed than ever, the administration should invest in ports of entry to secure our border in a way that facilitates commerce and trade.
“The idea that an ‘influx’ of asylum seekers necessitates these extreme measures directly contradicts the administration’s previous boasting on historically low border crossings. You can’t have it both ways, Mr. President.”