Donald Trump

Trump Wants the U.S. Military 'To Secure' the U.S.-Mexico Border

If the president sends active-duty Army troops to the border without congressional approval, he will be acting in violation of federal law.

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Gage Skidmore / Flickr.com

President Donald Trump said today that he is "preparing for the military to secure" the U.S. border with Mexico. "We have very bad laws for our border," Trump declared. "Until we can have a wall and proper security, we're going to be guarding our border with the military."

Trump offered no additional details, so it's not clear exactly what sort of military personnel he has in mind for the border security job. Depending on how he plans to proceed, his hands may already be tied by federal law.

Under the terms of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, no part of the Army or Air Force may be used for domestic law enforcement purposes "except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress." The act also applies to the Marines and the Navy via Department of Defense regulations, though not to the Coast Guard, which routinely performs domestic maritime police work.

The restrictions set by the Posse Comitatus Act do not apply to National Guard troops, however, when those troops are operating under state authority. In recent years, such troops have performed border security work. In 2008, for example, President George W. Bush launched "Operation Jump Start," in which 6,000 National Guard troops were deployed to California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas to offer various forms of border control assistance. President Barack Obama did much the same, deploying 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in 2010.

In short, if President Trump attempts to place active-duty Army troops at the U.S. border without congressional approval, he will be acting in violation of federal law. If he sends National Guard troops to the border, and those troops work with state authorities, he will be following in the footsteps of recent presidents.

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134 responses to “Trump Wants the U.S. Military 'To Secure' the U.S.-Mexico Border

  1. “”Under the terms of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, no part of the Army or Air Force may be used for domestic law enforcement purposes “except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress.” “‘

    Did the Posse Comitatus Act survive the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act? My recollection is that it took a beating or was removed.

    1. Air Force Fighter jets patrolled the skies over the U.S. for several days after 9/11. Did Congress authorize?

      1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

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    2. If there really is a convoy of immigrants coming to the border, it would be completely legal under 10 USC 332, to use the military to enforce an insurrection against federal immigration laws.

      ? 332. Use of militia and armed forces to enforce Federal authority

      Whenever the President considers that unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion against the authority of the United States, make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any State by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, he maycall into Federal service such of the militia of any State, and use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to enforce those laws or to suppress the rebellion.

  2. I’m gonna have ta search ya asshole

    A New Jersey man who was driving on Burlington Road in Southampton had a very personal run-in with New Jersey State Police officers who contend they smelled marijuana on his person, according to a report.

    In a dashcam video published by open government advocate John Paff, two State Police officers are seen ramming their hands down the pants of Jack Levine during a traffic stop.

    “If you think this is the worst thing I’m going to do to you right now, you have another thing coming my friend,” one of the troopers, identified on the video as Joseph Drew, tells Levine before beginning the cavity search.

    Someone’s trapped in the closet.

    1. This is exactly what Joe Kennedy was talking about. Claiming to smell marijuana and shoving your fingers up some guys ass is “one of the foundational principles for law enforcement that we use in our court system.” according to him.

      https://reason.com/blog/2018/04…..t-pot-lega

  3. So you’re saying have the Coast Guard patrol the Rio Grande?

    1. Have you seen the Rio Grande? There are places where you can jump across. The Coast Guard would have to be on stand-up paddle boards.

      1. Hey, if the ditch behind my house is a “navigable water” of the US, then in principle the Coast Guard should be able to patrol a ditch, right?

  4. We have military personnel guarding Penn Station. If they can guard a transportation hub, why not the border?

    Not that I’m for it.

    1. “Let’s show America what an Occupy movement is *really* like!”

  5. If he sends National Guard troops to the border, and those troops work with state authorities, he will be following in the footsteps of recent presidents.

    LEGITIMACY! And retroactive normalization.

  6. “Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military.”

    He should make area residents put up the troops in their houses. Just go ahead and wreck the last remaining unfucked part of the Bill of Rights.

    1. Sometimes one gets the idea that the only difference between military and cops is that military have more restrictive rules of engagement.

  7. Wait, I forgot, no PM links.

    1. I declare this the official PM links thread for today.

        1. If he follows this up at all, then good for him. But I will believe it when I see it.

          1. Ha already came in Syria, he wants to find a new hole in which to stick it.

            1. Again, unlike Phillip Rivers, Donald Trump believes in finding a new hole in which to stick it.

          2. That’s where I’m at. I’ll believe it when it happens.

        1. That adds a certain sparkle to the texture.

        1. Where’d you get a video of me masturbating?

        2. Awww, cute!

          1. I like to throw in a cute animal video when I do the P.M. Links.

    2. forever-ever or today?

      1. You been gone for a while, ain’tcha, kid?

        P.M. Links were cancelled a couple of weeks ago.

        1. came back to celebrate Legion season two, discovered pm links dead…conflicted

  8. I’m one of the weirdos around here who thinks immigration should be more open, but as someone who sharply criticizes the USA’s global military footprint I have to savor the irony that using the military in a, you know, DEFENSIVE capacity might actually be against the law.

    1. Isn’t it ironic?

  9. For 30+ years now, anytime someone mentions Posse Comitatus, this is what immediately springs to mind

    https://youtu.be/bjyLeO6Ys8E?t=9

    1. Pussy, Come Eat At Us

  10. Wrong. All President Trump has to do is declare martial law along a strip of land adjacent to the US / Mexico border and the active military can be used to secure it.

    1. Said some guy with no relevant knowledge whatsoever.

  11. So you’re saying the military can’t actually guard our borders? Isn’t that literally the military’s job?

    1. Their job is to invade other countries!

      This Libertarian Moment brought to you by Reason.com

      1. So you are saying we line them up along the border facing south, then tell them to take a step forward?

        (That’s figurative – I realize there are cliffs and rivers and all that stuff, though if they made a youtube video I’m sure it would get mega-hits).

    2. I think what we’re saying, JeremyR, is that no, no it’s not.

      NEXT!

  12. The military defending the border? What kind of a monster does such a thing? Doesn’t he know that the military is for defending other nations’ borders?

    1. If we allowed the US Military to defend the actual borders of our nation that would in fact be true Fascism!

      We were warned about this by all of those lefties and we just wouldn’t listen? Oh my dear God in Heaven what have we done? Why did we elect a Nazi to the office of the President. How blind we were!

      Forgive me! I now see how wrong I was!

    2. No, silly, it’s for droning the shit out of Allah-bothering goatfuckers in various Third-World hellholes. Also building very expensive gas stations and schools that later get bombed.

    3. Defending and controlling are not the same thing. Immigration and invasion are not the same thing.

      I’m not saying there aren’t reasonable arguments to be made for tighter control of borders. But our borders aren’t in need of defending. No one is challenging or threatening the borders. Just illegally coming across them.

      1. tell that to the drug gangs,..

      2. Immigration and invasion aren’t necessarily the same thing, but they can be.

        And, if people we don’t want here are illegally coming across our borders, then our borders are obviously in need of defending.

    4. Hey, let Congress pass a law letting him do it then. That’s all that’s required, here.

      Go bitch about it.

    5. We have border security, bringing in the military for a relatively minor thing like this sets a really bad precedence, and besides that it’s a really stupid fucking thing to do on the part of Trump. Either ramp up Border Security recruits or shut the fuck up. The military shouldn’t be used for nonmilitary purposes. When the illegals start lining up along the border with mortars and tanks then you might have a point, but that’s isn’t going to happen.

  13. As long as they are on the Mexican side of the border he’s all good. 😉

    1. Yeah, somehow Root seems to forget that he can activate the military for a few months at a time without Congressional approval. “Oh but they can’t do anything inside the US”.

      Well, for one, that sounds retarded, but lets take you at your word… you realize there’s another side of that border, that they could occupy, right?

  14. Under the terms of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, no part of the Army or Air Force may be used for domestic law enforcement purposes “except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress.” The act also applies to the Marines and the Navy via Department of Defense regulations, though not to the Coast Guard, which routinely performs domestic maritime police work.

    …uhh, there are lots of illegals trying to enter the country by travelling through Mexico to do so. The military isn’t doing “domestic law enforcement”, They are, like it or not, stopping an invasion (no other term for an unwanted mass of people trying to gain entry into a country illegally). That seems to fall pretty squarely on being the military’s job.

    1. “If it’s inside of the US, then it’s domestic” is my best guess at the angle they’re going for here.

    2. an invasion (no other term for an unwanted mass of people trying to gain entry into a country illegally)

      You lack imagination. There are plenty of other terms that fit much better. Also, “unwanted” by whom?

      That said, the big mass of migrants is a little fucked up. Fucking activists. While I favor much more open immigration, I loathe immigration activists as much as any other activists.

    3. They are, like it or not, stopping an invasion (no other term for an unwanted mass of people trying to gain entry into a country illegally).

      When you are evidently so self-aware that you have to justify twisting the words you’re twisting in order to make your point, perhaps you should re-examine whether your point has any merit. No, “illegal immigration” does not constitute an “invasion.”

      Let’s just spin this out to its logical conclusion. If illegal immigration over the Mexican border constituted an “invasion” worthy of a fully military response, then it would have to follow that these military officers would be entitled to shoot anyone attempting to enter the U.S. over that border. Is that a logical consequence you’re prepared to embrace?

      1. After being warned, of course, but yeah. In a heartbeat. They know they’re breaking our laws, it’s massively premeditated, if they walk across the border in the face of soldiers ordering them to turn back, what’s left but to shoot, or stop having borders?

        1. Arrest and detention. But it’s helpful to know how much of a racist sociopath you are. Explains a lot.

          1. Yeah people that want to shoot women and kids just because they entered the country illegally looking for work is pretty much the definition of sociopath.

            1. You could have stopped at “entered the country illegally”; I don’t much care why they did it.

              Look, we’re not talking here about people who were just going for a walk along the border, and lost track of where they were. We’re talking about people who, knowing full well what they intend is illegal, have gone to great lengths to travel hundreds of miles to cross our border.

              If they arrive, find troops there, are told to turn back or be shot, and advance anyway, it’s suicide by soldier.

              “Why not just detain them?”; Sure, but how do you detain them? By threatening to shoot them if they don’t stay where you put them.

              A key understanding of libertarianism is that you shouldn’t have laws you’re not willing to use violence to enforce, because laws ARE just a threat to use violence if people don’t comply. Well, I’m willing to use violence to enforce the borders. If I wasn’t, I’d abandon having borders.

  15. “Under the terms of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, no part of the Army or Air Force may be used for domestic law enforcement purposes “except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress . . . . In short, if President Trump attempts to place active-duty Army troops at the U.S. border without congressional approval, he will be acting in violation of federal law. “

    The argument that the commander in chief using our military to defend our international border is somehow unconstitutional or illegal is absurd.

    Standard small-state libertarianism has it that if the government exists for any purpose at all, it is to protect our rights. We have police to protect our rights from criminals. Courts to protect our rights from the police. A military to protect our rights from foreign threats.

    That’s the full extent of the list, really, and even that short list has the commander in chief using the military to protect our rights from foreign threats. It used to be that isolationist libertarians of all stripes would at least agree that the military is there to protect our own borders.

    How’d you get so far out into left field?

    I guess this comes from picking a position and rationalizing the legal justification later.

    P.S. Patrolling our international borders is not domestic law enforcement.

    1. Yes it is. Immigrants crossing the border is not a foreign invasion either. You’re insane. You people need to calm the fuck down before you turn this into a full-blown race panic.

      1. if they want to move into your house, what would you call it?

        1. Whose “house” is the United States?

          1. Mine.

            1. It most certainly isn’t.

      2. Who said anything about race?

        1. If you don’t recognize the eugenics driving Trump’s immigration policy, you’re not paying much attention, or jus wholly ignorant of this country’s use of immigration policy to police America’s racial purity.

          Trump officials go out of their way to make it clear that immigration policy is about breaking up families and, ideally, sending whole families of brown people back to the brown countries whence they come. “Chain immigration.” Targeting law-abiding immigrants with citizen families for deportation. Splitting up families upon arrival. Keeping pregnant women in custody and controlling minors’ access to abortion. Finding the flimsiest justifications for deporting green card holders. It just goes on and on.

          If it were just about cracking down on crime and limiting public assistance paid to non-citizens, we’d have a very different set of priorities, wouldn’t we?

          1. Your playbook spiel aside, do you have an opinion on the policies of Honduras or Guatemala or Mexico? Seems that is the crux of the problem. I mean, they’re leaving for a reason, right?

            1. I’m not sure why their policies matter, but I do think preventing a corrupt and incompetent president from using the military budget as a slush fund and an expansive interpretation of his authority to deploy the military as a police force on American territory is a good part of how we avoid becoming more like those countries.

              1. If someone walks across Mexico to leave their country, that country’s policies may not matter? Why don’t you go ask a Guatemalan before you post here again.

                1. I suppose the people that can’t make it out of their country don’t matter cause they dont help take down Trump.

                2. If Guatemala or Honduras want to fix their policies and make it safer to stay, that’s incumbent upon them. I’m not sure what we in the U.S. can or should do about it.

          2. Dude–you left out the word ‘illegal’

            It goes right in front of the word ‘immigrants’ or ‘immigration’ in your post.

            Is there a term for an anti-‘dog whistle’? Because no matter how often people say ‘ILLEGAL immigration’ none of you fuckers seems to be able to hear the word illegal.

            A lot of the time the word ‘illegal’ apparently sounds just like ‘brown’ to you as well.

            Maybe you’ve all got hearing or mental problems?

            1. Considering that not all of the policies I’ve described have anything to do with “illegal immigration” – e.g., “chain immigration,” revocation of legal residency for green card holders, etc. – then the omission of “illegal” would seem to be correct.

              Trump’s way ahead of your talking points. This stopped being about “illegal immigration” a long time ago. It’s been about making America white again.

      3. really?? who’s saying anything other than send them home? with their tails between their legs…lol

      4. Aren’t Hispanics white?

        1. Some are, some aren’t. Hispanic is a culture not a “race”. Lots are mixed blood whites with Native Americans, in fact I believe that is the majority of Mexican and Central American status. They are all very mixed.

      5. Invasion

        an instance of invading a country or region with an armed force.

        an incursion by a large number of people or things into a place or sphere of activity.

        an unwelcome intrusion into another’s
        domain.

        Sounds like one to me.

      6. If we don’t want them to enter the country, it damned well IS a foreign invasion.

        1. I don’t want you in my country.

          1. Fortunately, you refuse to accept ownership

    2. article IV , section 4,

    3. I fail to see the relevance of “standard small-state libertarianism” to an article by Reason staff

    4. “How’d you get so far out into left field?”

      The libertarian movement is just another institution. Though I will grant you, to bother marching through it, they must be getting pretty close to finishing the job.

  16. More of the daily Trump drama. He loves that tough hombre image.

    OK, if you want to use the military then do it. If the border crossers are a military threat to national security then gun them down. Declare a 10 mile buffer zone. Anyone crossing it gets shot or blown up.

    We know where that convoy is in Mexico. Send a couple A-10s over and problem solved.

    1. ahhah, an extremist…nice try.

      1. Of course nobody is going to order an air strike or start shooting at civilians approaching the border although I have heard some wing nuts advocate just that. Why don’t we? Because it is not a military problem. These people are not shooting missiles at us.

        We do have the military serve in other functions such as disaster relief so I guess I don’t object to having some troops help out for a while if the border patrol is short handed. Somehow I think there was no request for help. This is a Trump thing. Another move to justify his stupid wall.

        1. Right, the holder of the office constitutionally established as being charge of the Border Patrol has to make a request for help to himself before he can legitimately decide that the Border Patrol needs help.

        2. There are plenty of alt-right people who would have no problem seeing illegals mowed down by the thousands by machine guns. I’ve met a few, they are just that insane.

    2. Armed cartel members and terrorists might actually be.

  17. hey Damon, have you read the constitution lately?

    Defending our Borders from foreign invaders is # 1 in the constitutional duties of the military and the federal government,

    article IV, section 4. read it.

    gee, I swore an oath 4 times , stating just that.

    DUH!!

  18. “Under the terms of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, no part of the Army or Air Force may be used for domestic law enforcement purposes”

    Repelling and expelling foreign invaders is not domestic law enforcement.

    What part of *foreign* don’t you understand?

    AmericaFirst

  19. This is a troll article, right? Reason is not on the Pelosi talking points mailer, right? Damon Root is not an idiot, right?

  20. What if we set up a meet and greet tent at the border, asked them a few questions, run ’em through a metal detector, then signed them up for “meaningful work”, say, at a Koch bros. chemical plant? That would surely comply with immigration laws and the Constitution? Or Trump could issue a “special directive”, huh? Like one of those executive order thingys?

  21. Give the task to the Coast Guard. Easy peasy japaneasey.

  22. Funny how states otherwise disregard federal law.

  23. It’s not that difficult to get around Posse Comitatus. We did so in 2001, when we activated the Guard under title 10 (federal) to assist (the pre- CBP) US Customs, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. When the activation first started, the Guardsmen weren’t allowed to carry weapons, because that was their definition of “law enforcement”. Top Men decided that wasn’t a good idea, so their answer was this: The folks assigned under US Customs would be made “Customs agents” on paper by the Dept. of Treasury, and those assigned under the INS would be sworn in and deputized as US Marshalls by the Dept of Justice. Then they were all sent to Ft Harrison, MT to train on their new M9 Beretta’s and pepper spray.
    Ask me how I know.

  24. Root seems unaware that Eisenhower ordered the 101st Airborne Division to assist with integration of Little Rock Central HS in 1957, using authority from 10 USC 252.

    Whenever the President considers that unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion against the authority of the United States, make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any State by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, he may call into Federal service such of the militia of any State, and use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to enforce those laws or to suppress the rebellion.

    1. Haven’t you learned, by now, that all immigration-related actions by Trump are inherently unconstitutional?

    2. How does this statute authorize the use of the military to “protect our borders?”

  25. This isn’t domestic law enforcement, they’re being sent to the border to repel an invasion. You can’t get much more legitimate than that.

    1. Might upset the “states’ rights” folk though

    2. So let’s just be clear: The Founders were very suspicious of giving the federal government any authority to maintain a standing army. A century later, that suspicion hadn’t waned, leading to the Posse Comitatus Act, which limits the president’s authority to use the standing army for domestic law enforcement purposes. But now that we have managed to elect the dumbest, most incompetent, least experienced, most prone to suggestion, most corrupt president in recent memory, libertarians are arguing that we should construe “invasion” as broadly as possible, so as to give that president untrammeled authority to deploy the troops?

      Let me ask: Do you live anywhere within 100 miles of a coast or international border? If so, you can fully expect to see the military police state you’re advocating along the Mexican border to be coming to a checkpoint near you.

      Fucking morons.

      1. I appreciate your concerns about martial law within 100 miles of the border. I think your fears are overblown.

        It is astounding to me that our military isn’t already patrolling our borders.

        Someone should point out, too, tat the 1878 law was meant to end the Union army’s occupation of the South.

        Was that about principled concern over a standing army, or was that about selling reconstruction short?

        “On January 29, 1877 President Grant signed the Electoral Commission Act which set up a 15-member commission to settle the disputed 1876 election of 8 Republicans and 7 Democrats. The Electoral Commission awarded Rutherford B. Hayes the electoral votes he needed; Congress certified he had won by one electoral vote. The Democrats had little leverage?they could delay Hayes’ election but they could not put their man (Tilden) in the White House. However they agreed not to block Hayes’ inauguration based on a “back room” deal. Key to this deal was the understanding that federal troops would no longer interfere in southern politics despite substantial election-associated violence against blacks.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R…..nstruction

        Just for the record, that’s what really happened. There wasn’t anything principled about it. Quite the opposite.

        1. It might not be a noble history, but it sounds like southern Democrats shared the same concerns that the founding fathers did – the heavy-handed exercise of federal military power over matters of state concern.

          I don’t think my fears of a military police state within 100 miles of all our coasts, borders, and international points of entry are overblown. We already know the Customs service abuses its “authority” in these zones, and there’s no principled reason why Trump would invoke military authority along just the southern border and not, say, anywhere else immigrants could illegally enter the country. Particularly considering how many “sanctuary cities” lie within that 100-mile zone. You don’t think Trump wouldn’t order the military to help ICE in an effort to crack down on NYC, LA, and Chicago, and any other area not fully on-board with the Trump agenda? You wanna bet?

  26. Just build a giant military base all along the border. California democrats would be behind that 100%.

    1. Right, 2000 miles long, and 50 feet wide.

    2. Me likey!

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  28. Let me get this straight; federal law supposedly makes it illegal to use the military to protect US borders?

    WTF?

    1. It doesn’t. It’s just the latest sophistry.

  29. How is repelling a citizen of another country at the border an act of domestic law enforcement? Article OKI of the constitution gives the president the experience authority to repel invasion, and that authority is not limited to armed invasion.

    1. Exactly!

  30. How is defending against a small-scale invasion a “domestic” issue?

  31. I think one of the hardest things for people to realize is that we are pretty lucky as Americans to only have direct immigration access from the north and south. Mexico being #1. For anyone who argues against enforcing our laws which state that illegal immigration is illegal….look at Europe you morons. Read about their border issues, their immigration crisis…we should thank god we’re not directly linked to the middle east and Africa. I think the reason why people don’t see too much harm in mexican immigration is that a lot people have mexican family – my great grandmother crossed the border in the 30’s….I have a warm and fuzzy for the Mexican culture. But our laws need to be respected and enforced, point blank. And who cares how we enforce them, so long as its legal. Also, think about all the GOOD which would come from employing more military at the border….more families moving down there, a boost in the local economies, and quite frankly, diversifying the population. The laws are already there. The military is already developed….why not place them at our own borders?

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