Saturday, November 03, 2018

Sending Troops To The Border, OMG!

     Yeah, well, the Federal government can send them, but they still cannot do the job of police -- that pesky Posse Comitatus Act doesn't allow it.  It appears the United States Coast Guard is exempt, but they're not being sent in.

     So what, exactly, can the Army do?  Mostly good things, as it turns out, or at least neutral ones:

     1. They can render humanitarian aid.  This is good, since it's rather difficult to sort out refuge-seekers, plain old border sneaks and the skullduggerous if they're dying of thirst.

     2. They can lend logistical support, carrying Border Patrol personnel to where they can do the most good.  This also includes repairing fences and the like.

     3. They can do aerial reconnaissance and similar intel work, keeping track of who's where.

     These are jobs which should help defuse situations and ease worries, not escalate matters.

     Presumably, if the "invasion" turns into an actual invasion, buncha dudes rushing the border waving clubs or something, then the .mil could repel them.  But this seems unlikely.  It's a stunt at worst, a photo-op in the run-up to the mid-term elections, a bloody shirt both big parties can wave over their own slogans and the marchers are being treated as little more than props.  It is likely many of them are fleeing bad conditions at home; it is uncertain if those conditions qualify them for refugee status under UN treaties and U.S. law -- but there is a formal procedure for figuring this out, which the Border Patrol is quite familiar with and the Army troops will be told what the rules are.  I expect this to fizzle out in the usual bureaucratic border morass, with the usual posturing by people with an axe to grind. 

     The little guys -- J. Random "It's-got-to-be-better-elsewhere" and family, J. Random low-ranking soldier and J. Random low-ranking Border Patrolman -- will end up doing all of the sweating and improvising, while nice people in nice suits have nice press conferences and photo ops in nice surroundings.  If that doesn't irk you, perhaps it should.  People get shoved around like pawns in a chess game way too often while the chessplayers walk away fat and happy.


Anonymous said...

The military can be sent to the border and used as a police contingent, and posse comitatus doesn't factor in at all. This is a defensive maneuver to protect our border from foreign invasion, not a conflict within the country that needs to be resolved.

The only part of the armed services bound by Posse Comitatus anyway is the US army, and as of 1956, the US air force. All other branches of the services; Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and the National Guard can be used for internal conflict resolutions (within the borders of the country) at any time at the command of the CIC, and Posse Comitatus isn't a factor.

In addition, if an act of war is declared on an invading force, the country falls under martial law, and all laws can be suspended at the discretion of the President and Congress.


Paul said...

I don't have a problem with immigrants.

I do have a problem with scofflaws. And this "immigrant" caravan is more scofflaws than immigrants.

If they think it is better here why don't they try to make it better where they where?

No. the little guys are pawns for the big guys dreams.

not good. and I doubt it will bet better after Tuesday.

Roberta X said...

Ned2: not how that works, both generally and specifically, the Department of the Navy has prescribed regulations that are generally construed to give the act force with respect to the Navy and Marines. In addition, martial law in the United States has quite an ugly history and has been increasingly limited by the courts.

An "invading force" is necessarily military. Ragged people walking across the border with their hands up doesn't qualify, even if [insert badguy du jour] underwrote the whole thing with malice aforethought.

Hey, here's a thought, let's pretend the Feds learned something from the "bonus army."

bobbookworm said...

Why is an 'invading force' necessarily military...I don't see bacteria in uniform when they invade your body. I've see the definition as "to enter and take over a place". Lack of a uniform and gun doesn't make them less of a threat. And looking at the pictures from down South all those young military age men look pretty well fed and not very ragged...some are better dressed than I am...oh wait, that doesn't sound very good, does it.

Ken said...

For the best people everywhere, the rest of us are means, not ends. Treating a person as a thing is high on the list of the worst things one can do to another.

Roberta X said...

bobbookworm: unless your body is a nation-state, your analogy is meaningless. How well did the fellow in Tiananmen Square do against tanks, especially in the long run? (And tell me, whose side did most of the people in the free world favor, based on the striking photograph of him standing up to a tank?) An unarmed mob with women and children isn't a military force; along most of the border, it's a humanitarian disaster in the making. I guess POTUS or the Joint Chiefs *could* ask the Army to burn down those villagers in order to save them (and presumably us), which would be okay if Congress blessed it, but that hasn't worked out very well in the past.

For a country as large and well-armed (at both the government and individual level) and well-organized as the United States of America, roughly seven thousand unarmed people walking up to the border and even crossing it isn't an invasion, it's an exercise in paperwork and personnel processing: contain 'em, hand 'em a bottle of water, and start sorting them out. Nine times as many people come to Lucas Oil Stadium to watch an Indianapolis Colts game, eat junk food, drink beer and soft drinks and go home, all in the course of a single afternoon. The Army and Border Patrol will have most of the "caravan" sorted out within a week.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't matter if you think the they are welcome or not. The truth is we as a country should not be coerced into accepting this shameful use of human beings by the media, DNC, and big progressive groups, to change our culture, society, ultimately our country. Gotta be stopped.

Antibubba said...

What will prove most interesting is the interaction between America's citizen soldiers and the homegrown militant groups who are voluntarily headed down to stop the diseased horde of brown people from violating our sovereignty. Military vs Militia has been a popular scenario for years; hopefully this is not the time we find out how poorly it could end.

Roberta X said...

Anonymous, "gotta be stopped" is the Border Patrol's job and in this situation, a large and easily-spotted group headed for the border with no effort at concealment, it's pretty easy. The real work begins after that.

Antibubba, ironic or scare quotes are your friend. Your comment is the first I have heard of any unofficial armed NGO headed for the border. There are two ways that works out, or three:
1. Amateurs, lacking access to intel that would direct them to the point of arrival, give up and go home.
2. Local law-enforcement rounds them up for whatever -- mopery, failure to signal a turn, incitement to riot, etc. and they either go quietly or decide to engage. If they decide to fight:
3. The Feds check through the exceptions in Posse Comitatus Act, turn to the Insurrection Act of 1807 and determine that this is a case where military force can be used to put down lawlessness, insurrection, and rebellion. This results in a short, bad day. It also removes manpower from the actual problem of actually dealing with the actual refuge-seekers and endangers the Border Patrol.

Lyford said...

I don't understand the apocalyptic hysteria on this. They show up, they get processed according to existing law and practice. It's a logistics headache but it doesn't have to be a crisis.

We have no obligation of accept any of them as asylum seekers without due process. We do have an obligation to treat them humanely.

And our elected officials on both sides deserve a whupping for their complete failure to address immigration on the southern border in any kind of coherent, comprehensive way.

pigpen51 said...

One thing that seems to be true is that if Trump had not made an issue of the border and immigration, no matter how ham handed his statements, no one would be talking about any of this. And probably the "caravan" would not even be happening. What bothers me about this is that at times, I find myself being an apologist for the president, when he is a jackass of the highest order.

I won't pretend that I have followed the whole thing closely, because I have only caught bits and pieces of the mess. What seems to be a thing is that these people no longer are in whatever country that they came from, and so now, they are not in any kind of jeopardy. I don't know if that has any effect on the seeking of asylum or not.

I think that you, Roberta, hit pretty much the entire issue on the head, in that the whole thing reeks of politics, and at the expense of the people who are closest to the issue. What is going to be the thing to watch is what happens after the election. If it is mostly political theater, then you can expect to see it fade away.