Our brave service men and women of the National Guard have been deployed to the southern border of the United States. These brave soldiers that make up our National Guard are doing everything that they can to secure the southern border as I sit here writing this. The only thing that our soldiers are not doing is looking over the United States Mexico border. In they are forbidden to look across the border when it comes to matters of surveillance.
Our service men and women are using top of the line high tech equipment to secure our border, but they are under orders not to use it to look into Mexico. Their mission is only to secure the border. There is nothing about that mission that requires recon. It is this distinction that allows President Trump to legally send our troops to the southern border. The National Guard is only legally allowed to use the video feeds from their camera towers and other cameras to watch the Texas side of the border. Anything south of the border is strictly off limits. Army Lt. Colonel Jamie Davis explained it best when he told the New York Times, “we are not doing foreign intelligence collection on the border.”
These are not the only restrictions that bind the hands of our soldiers that are stationed at the southern border. They are not allowed to perform law enforcement duties such as arresting or interacting with migrants. Although they are allowed to use their eyes to look across the border, not being able to use their surveillance equipment hinders their ability to protect our borders.
A large number of migrants and smugglers use Mexico as a means to gain illegal entry into the United States. A lot of these migrants will meet up on the southern side of the river and form groups before they try to cross the river or scale the fence. Fortunately while our National Guard must work under such tight restrictions on what they are and are not able to do, these same restrictions do not apply to the Border Patrol. The men and women who work for our Border Patrol generally watch both sides of the Mexico United States border.
One Texas Democratic Representative named Vicente Gonzalez had the following to say to the New York Times, “They have their hands tied. This is not what the National Guard was designed for.” I can’t believe I actually agree with a Democrat but the man is right when he says that this is not what the National Guard were made for. The money that is being spent to keep our men and women there at the border would be better spent on hiring more Border Patrol agents.
At this point in time the Border Patrol and the National Guard have not made any official statements regarding how difficult such restrictions are making it for the men and women who are stationed at the border to protect America. The troops that have been deployed to Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico have been instrumental in helping the Border Patrol capture over a thousand immigrants making illegal entries into the United States and the confiscation of over 1,000 pounds of marijuana. Our brave men and women provide the Border Patrol with an eye in the sky using Lakota helicopters, repairing roads and vehicles that the Border Patrol uses, as well as monitoring state side surveillance video.
President Trumps deployment of the National Guard falls under what is known in official circles as a Title 32 deployment. For civilians unfamiliar with this term what it means is that the National Guard are under the Governors command, but they are being financed by the federal government. Under a purely federal deployment the National Guard can perform their military duties anywhere in the world. A title 32 deployment limits their actions to just the continental United States. Foreign intelligence operations are not allowed to be part of the actions performed under a title 32.
Defense Department Spokesman Colonel Davis told the New York Times, “Guardsmen in Title 32 status do not have the authority nor is that the intent. At this time there is no effort to update the policy.”
Last month when the National Guard was observed in Starr County, Texas the men that were placed in two observation post seemed to be following the guidelines that they are expected to operate under.
At this time being the mission that has been given to the National Guards primary mission is to monitor and detect while performing most of the administrative tasks, logistical, maintenance, and surveillance tasks that our men and women who work for the Border Patrol would normally be doing themselves. Their presence and assistance in such duties allow the Border Patrol to put more men and women out in the field.