[m2c] Reform Groups Slam "Militarisation" of U.S.-Mexico Border
sandinista at shaw.ca
Wed Jun 2 22:19:48 MDT 2010
Reform Groups Slam "Militarisation" of U.S.-Mexico Border
By Eli Clifton
WASHINGTON, May 27, 2010 (IPS) - President Barack Obama will be
sending 1,200 National Guard troops to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border
after pressure from both Republicans and Democrats to tighten border
security and increase funding to combat the flow of illegal drugs into
The announcement made Tuesday comes after Arizona announced strict new
laws allowing police officers to stop and question anyone who they
believe might be in the U.S. illegally - a law that many critics say
would encourage racial profiling.
Obama has spoken out against the new law but with midterm elections
coming up in the fall, the White House has been eager to curb
criticisms that the Democratic Party is lax on national security and
Critics of the deployment of National Guard personnel to the
U.S.-Mexico border charge that the new policy is one more step in the
wrong direction in an unwinnable war on drugs and further evidence of
an immigration system in need of reform.
"This is no substitute for genuine reform to our broken immigration
system or to our insufficient civilian law enforcement capacity in
border zones," said George Withers, senior fellow for security policy
at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).
"It is ironic that the administration is turning to the military on
our side of the border at a time when Mexico's government has actually
begun pulling troops out of cities like Ciudad Juarez, after realising
that militarisation doesn't work," Withers concluded.
WOLA has also called for clarification on whether the National Guard
troops will be deployed under the authority of 'Title 10' or 'Title
32' of the U.S. Code, the law that governs the U.S.
"This distinction is important. Under Title 10, the deployment would
constitute the use of a federalised military force in a contravention
of the important legal concept of Posse Comitatus, a law which
prohibits a U.S. military role in domestic law enforcement activities.
Alternatively, under Title 32, state governors have the prerogative to
use the National Guard for state requirements," read a statement from
The Immigration Policy Centre blasted the National Guard deployment as
"For more than two decades, the U.S. government has tried without
success to stamp out unauthorised immigration through enforcement
efforts at the border and in the interior of the country without
fundamentally reforming the broken immigration system that spurs
unauthorised immigration in the first place," said a statement from
"Ironically, while billions upon billions of dollars have been poured
into enforcement, the number of unauthorised immigrants in the United
States has increased dramatically," it noted.
The announcement of the National Guard deployment was accompanied by
news that the White House would request 500 million dollars to fund
additional resources to strengthen the U.S.-Mexico border. Some
senators have requested as much as two billion dollars.
The decision to deploy the National Guard to the U.S.'s southern
border came after Obama met on Tuesday with Republican senators who
asked for troops to be deployed to the four states - California,
Arizona, New Mexico and Texas - which share borders with Mexico.
The National Guard will be deployed to the border states for one year
but their arrival date has not been announced.
Their mission will include supporting law enforcement officers by
monitoring activity between border crossing checkpoints and analysing
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is facing a competitive election in the
fall, made the announcement on Tuesday that National Guard would be
deployed to the border.
"The White House is doing the right thing," said Giffords in a press
release on Tuesday. "Arizonans know that more boots on the ground
means a safer and more secure border. Washington heard our message."
"The fulfillment of my request is a clear sign that this
administration is beginning to take border security seriously," she
Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has been attacked by his Republican
primary opponent for being soft on immigration, welcomed the
announcement but said that at least 6,000 troops were needed.
""The fact that President Obama announced today that he will only be
sending one-fifth of the troops we believe are required is a weak
start and does not demonstrate an understanding of the current
situation in the region," said McCain and colleague Sen. Jon Kyl in a
"This morning, we proposed an amendment to fully fund 6,000 National
Guard troops to be immediately deployed to the southwest border and
call on the president to support our amendment," they continued.
The murder of an Arizona rancher in March, which law enforcement
officials have suggested was committed by someone involved in
smuggling, led to calls for the National Guard to be deployed on the
border and the passage of a new immigration law in Arizona giving
police the power to detain anybody suspected of being in the U.S.
The governors of New Mexico, Arizona and Texas requested the presence
of National Guard troops on their southern borders.
"Until all of us are free, the few who think they are remain tainted
with enslavement." Lee Maracle
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