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American soldiers are staying put at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Pentagon revealed Monday.
According to an Associated Press report, the military deployment will not only continue until the end of September 2019, but will be enhanced as soldiers and Marines continue to assist the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in its efforts to reinforce the southern border, including the arrival of more migrant caravans.
“DOD (The Department of Defense) is transitioning its support at the southwestern border from hardening ports of entry to mobile surveillance and detection, as well as concertina wire emplacement between ports of entry,” the Pentagon said in a statement carried by the AP report. (RELATED: US Troops, Border Patrol Prepare For Migrant Caravan By Laying Down Barbed Wire)
Soldiers and Marines have already secured 70 miles of the forbidding wire to discourage migrants from illegally entering the country. President Donald Trump has referred to the sharp deterrent as “a beautiful sight” when it “is used properly.”
An unnamed official, cited by the AP report, who is aware of the particulars of the deployment, could not say how the enhanced mission will affect troop levels in the area. The source confirmed to the AP that Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan has approved the ongoing partnership between DOD and DHS.
U.S. border patrol agents gather to look over the border fence between Mexico and the United States, where they expect a large group of caravan migrants to gather on Sunday, at Border State Park in San Diego, California, U.S. November 16, 2018.
U.S. border patrol agents gather to look over the border fence between Mexico and the United States, where they expect a large group of caravan migrants to gather on Sunday, at Border State Park in San Diego, Cal., U.S. Nov. 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Approximately 2,350 active duty troops have been deployed to the border since Oct. 30 in an operation that was supposed to end by Dec. 15. That initial engagement was stretched to the end of January before this latest decision to keep the military personnel on-scene until at least the end of September.
Trump views the deployment of troops as one weapon in his arsenal to protect the border and dissuade migrant caravans from approaching it. They are authorized to use “lethal force” to defend themselves against attack. (RELATED: Another Migrant Caravan Sets Out For US Border)
Although the military is directed by law to focus on extra-territorial threats, it can be tasked to aid the civil power to provide emergency relief or security powers.
Law enforcement agrees: The media’s border denialism is absurd
If Bashar Assad or other Islamic entities came to our border, set up multibillion-dollar global criminal networks sending drugs as powerful as chemical weapons flowing into our country, wouldn’t we treat it like a national emergency on par with a war? Well, take a look at what these violent global entities (still simply known as “drug cartels”) are doing at our border. Breitbart Texas has posted unimaginably gruesome photos of their daily activities. (Warning: extremely graphic.)
Somehow, it’s only cool to care about humanitarian and national security problems of other countries, but not our own or even those of the country just south of us. The reason? Because it implicates the agenda of illegal immigration.
Last week, I caught up with several law enforcement agents who have decades of experience dealing with the southwest border. Here is a synopsis of what a few of them told me of the seriousness of the situation.
Sheriff Mark Napier, who heads local law enforcement in Pima County, the largest border county in America, lamented the callous disregard of the politicians and the media to our border crisis. “This is a human rights issue,” said Napier, who is also vice president of the Arizona Sheriff’s Association. “Unlike Pelosi, who says border walls are immoral, I would say what is immoral is to create a system that encourages some man in Central America to grab his small children by the hand, walk hundreds of miles north through all sorts of climate conditions, environmental hazards, and criminal hazards, and come here believing they could just walk in for a better life. That is the humanitarian tragedy – the system that encourages this very dangerous and desperate behavior that is the problem. By fixing our border, the aliens would know that they can’t come north.”
The media and special interest groups have spent years ignoring the national security threats to Americans while actually fueling the humanitarian crisis for the very migrants that they claim to care about. Now, House Democrats plan to hold hearings pointing fingers not at themselves, but at Border Patrol for the recent deaths of two child migrants in BP custody. Perhaps the politicians should hear more from border sheriffs rather than special interest groups. Here is what is causing the humanitarian problem, according to Napier.
“My deputies recover over 100 bodies a year in the desert of my county, mostly skeletal remains. This is not the fault of CBP that this child died in their custody; it’s the fault of the system that encouraged that dangerous behavior on the part of that minor’s guardian. I’m not a very political guy, but when you argue against border security, you are incentivizing very dangerous behavior that seems to counter-indicate to me any degree of caring for those people that you profess to care about.”
He expressed a sentiment I’ve heard from many local and federal law enforcement agents who are not trying to score any political points and are driven simply by the dangerous facts on the ground they are confronted with – facts that the political elites want to ignore:
“Long after I’m no longer the sheriff of this county, this county is still my home, and I care about it because my children and grandchildren live here,” said the veteran sheriff. “We’ve got to fix this. I’m so tired of the politics and sound-bite policy. This is not a partisan issue; this is a human rights issue, this is a public safety issue, and a national security issue, which should transcend partisan politics, but unfortunately it does not.”
The frustration at the lack of federal help was also echoed by Mark Dannels, the sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona, just to the east of Pima County:
Our southern border has become the largest crime zone in America, and law enforcement at all levels work tirelessly every day to secure our border and communities to prevent and detect those that use our border for an avenue to promote illegal activity that degrades our quality of life in America. As the political debate continues, law enforcement deputies/officers/agents will continue to do their constitutional mandates/expectations in securing our borders. I just wish our elected congressional members would do the same.
Inextricably mixed with the humanitarian crisis is the national security crisis posed by the evil cartels. Last week, I had retired Texas Department of Public Safety Captain Jaeson Jones on my podcast. Jones worked for 24 years in the intelligence and counterterrorism division. He now teaches the intelligence community, federal, state, and local law enforcement across the country about border security and Mexican cartels. He warned that cartels such as Jalisco are “now operating in 42 countries” and that “the Mexican cartels are no longer just drug trafficking organizations, they are global violent networks” for a multitude of reasons:
Not only should we treat them as terrorists because they’re operating globally, but because they are also employing terrorist organizations such as FARC to conduct their baseline training. They have killed over 200,000 Mexican citizens since 2007.
Then you take the integration of military-grade weapons such as light antitank weapons, surface-to-air missiles, and hand grenades. The tactics that they’re employing in the tradecraft that they’re gaining from working with terrorists and from special forces units is incredible.
Jones blames not only the media, but even much of federal law enforcement for not adapting their tactics to confront the “quantum leap” the cartels have made from being small-time drug traffickers to violent global entities with endless resources at their disposal.
And no, the violence is not just staying on their side of the border. For those of you asking “why now?” in terms of the urgency at the border, heed the words of this veteran agent:
I can remember a time in this country when we never even heard the term “human trafficking.” That occurred in other countries around the world. … Today it is not only here, it is in every state in this country. We first saw it at the southwest border. I can remember cases when I was stationed in Brownsville, where we had … one of the first cases, I remember, was a woman that was brought in the country, smuggled here through some coyotes by her husband. She was stripped naked and tied up and duct-taped in the back of a car. We were pinging the phone trying to locate her, while they were selling her from Dallas to Houston, putting her into the trade. It was absolutely horrific. I can remember thinking, my God, what is happening? Sadly, now it’s all across the country and not even newsworthy. Now the question is, why did American law enforcement not stop this?
How can we allow this to continue at our own border when we race off and spend billions and endless lives in the Middle East at the drop of a hat, based on a fraction of the security concerns that exist at our border?
Jones lamented the amount of crime from criminal alien networks that is not being quantified in federal data:
Along our southwest border right now the level of cartel infiltration at local and state and federal levels is unbelievable. Look at the kidnappings that are occurring. The extortion, drug trafficking. … To this day at a national level, the American people have no idea how much dope is actually seized in this country. Human trafficking, labor trafficking, money laundering, weapon seizures, cybercrime. I mean the list goes on.
What about those who believe blocking cartel infiltration is somehow not the purview of national defense? Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said that he opposes any plans to use defense spending for the border because “it is not a responsibility of the Department of Defense” to build the wall, which he considers to be “non-defense purposes.”
Here’s what Jones said about the threat these cartel members pose in our communities:
“When we see these individuals learning the tradecraft of how to utilize armored vehicles and military-grade weapons in two-man, four-man, 10-man tactics … our everyday law enforcement officers domestically are not capable of handling that. That’s not what they train for.”
It’s a shame that establishment Republicans, even those in border states, refuse to recognize the severity of the problem or offer any realistic solutions while criticizing the president. How much longer will they allow this to continue?
This President will do whatever it takes to secure the country. I truly believe that.