Between 2,000 and 4,000 National Guard members are headed to the U.S.-Mexican border and not a moment too soon for those who wish to see the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. come to a halt. It’s not that this is a novel approach but something about this president’s decision leads one to believe that he’s earnest about shoring up our borders by reducing the constant flood of people and drugs that are being smuggled into the country. Essentially, President Trump is telling those who hope to hop the border that the jig is up – and that means it’s time to Bring on the Guard, Baby.
Of course, some states are cooperating and others not so much. Texas, Arizona,and New Mexico are all in, but the holdout here is California. Once the other state’s borders are tightened up, it will be fascinating to see what happens in the Golden State as all the illegal activity begins to funnel into their southern border. Chances are California Governor Jerry Brown just might re-think his decision.
The History of the Guard at the Border
President George W. Bush initiated Operation Jump Start in June of 2006. He ordered 6,000 Guardsmen in the first year of the maneuver and then reduced the number to 3,000. Critics maintained that Jump Start was not a unified effort by the Guard and Border Patrol. Thus, the Operation was mired in government agency quarrels that yielded little in the way of accomplishments. Jump Start cost the nation’s taxpayers $1.2B.
Then there was Operation Phalanx which was President Obama’s stab at the problem. But in usual Obama fashion, it was more of a media show than an actual effort to enforce the country’s immigration laws. During Phalanx, the Guard was prohibited from making arrests and was only there to give the Border Patrol support. Obama only deployed 1,200 Guardsmen, and it cost the nation an estimated $110M.
What’s Different Now?
So, what makes us think bringing out the National Guard is going to work this time? Well first and foremost, unlike Messieurs Bush and Obama, President Trump is as serious as a heart attack about both enforcing the immigration laws on the books and almost as importantly – stopping the flow of illegals and drugs into the United States. Immigration was one of the policy pillars of the Trump campaign, and while he has been stymied by lackluster support from his own party, not to mention outright obstruction by the Democrats, he constantly refers to The Wall and seems to be willing to get it going any way he can.
Just because something didn’t work before, does not mean it cannot work now. It all depends upon the execution and commitment of the one who is in charge – in this case, President Trump. And there is nothing to indicate that President Trump has softened his stance on the border in any way, shape or form.
One has the sense that if it were left up to him, contractors would be pouring cement and pounding (American steel) pilings into the ground from California eastward. But in a Constitutional Republic, the president does not have that kind of power. He can’t merely command what he wants to be done as an island unto himself. He must cajole, negotiate and leverage everyone and everything he can to achieve his goals. So, he takes what the offense gives him and tacks when he has to in order to accomplish his goals.Calling the National Guard to our border is step number one in his effort to keep and fulfill a campaign promise.
Sometimes sheer persistence pays off. And if Trump is anything he is a man that strives to get what he wants. Perhaps Mr. Trump is trying to demonstrate the proverb first uttered by American educator Thomas H. Palmer, “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.”