The Tweeter-in-Chief, the border, and the military

Wall mural Nogales McIntosh

Border wall mural, photo by Jonathan McIntosh, used under Creative Commons license

By Wednesday, Trump’s Tuesday announcement that he was sending the military to the border to stop migrants had turned to a request to governors to send National Guard troops, which is closer to the practice of past presidents. The need for the troops, and what they would do, remains unclear. Also unclear: U.S. policy toward Honduras, after Trump tweeted a threat to cut off foreign aid, presumably because news reports say most members of the “caravan” in Mexico come from Honduras. Does he think Honduras should post guards on the border to stop people from leaving? That would certainly be a novel demand.

And in other news: Minnesota migration history; Worthington concerns about the 2020 census; and a broken promise to protect soldiers from deportation. 

Here’s a succinct Twitter summary of what’s wrong with the plan from @TomJawetz:

There are many reasons it would be really stupid (and also totally consistent with Trump’s M.O.) to call up the National Guard along out Southwest Border.
Here’s just one: they’d have nothing to do. /1

As of September 30, 2017, there were 16,605 on-board Border Patrol agents assigned to the Southwest Border Sectors. That number appears to have remained fairly stable. … /2

In the first five months of FY 2018 (October 1, 2017-February 28, 2018), there were 136,201 Border Patrol apprehensions in the Southwest Border Sectors. /3

That means during those 5 months, the average Border Patrol agent along the Southwest Border apprehended JUST OVER 8 PEOPLE.
That period covers 151 days, so that means each agent apprehended ONE PERSON ABOUT EVERY 19 DAYS. /4

Importantly, calling up the National Guard doesn’t eliminate the protections already in law that require asylum seekers and most unaccompanied children to receive some amount of process before they turned away. /5

More than one-third of the SW border apprehensions in the first 5 months of FY18—48,687—were unaccompanied children and parents traveling with minor children. These people frequently seek out Border Patrol agents in order to begin the process of requesting asylum. /6

Central Americans vow to continue as Mexico disperses ‘caravan’ (Al Jazeera, 4/4/18)

“The government said it would issue one-year humanitarian visas to the most vulnerable, allow others to submit applications within the month to stay in Mexico, and request that the rest exit the country within 20 days.

“Many of those travelling with the caravan said they will continue with the aim of reaching the United States, while others have said they will remain in other parts of Mexico.

“Kevin, 16, from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, said that a local gang, Barrio 18, had tried to forcibly recruit him, and that they had threatened to harm his entire family if he did not become a member. He plans to request asylum in the US.”

Migrants at U.S.-Mexico border say Trump’s tough talk won’t deter them (Reuters, 4/4/18)

“He said about families with children, who are more difficult to deport quickly, form about 49 percent of the current apprehensions in his region. He said they often walk up to the first U.S. officials they find to ask for help.

“It doesn’t matter how many agents are out there,” when it comes to families, he said, “because this population is turning themselves in.”…

“For migrants like Jose Romero, 27, who made the harrowing days-long trip through Mexico with his 8-year-old daughter in the back of a dark cargo truck, threats from the president are little deterrent. …

“They will keep coming,” he said, because of violence and poverty south of the border. “The people are afraid.”

Legal limits on military deployment along U.S. border (Crimmigration blog, 4/3/18) The military—mainly the National Guard—has been used along the border by previous presidents to support local law enforcement and the Border Patrol. But there are limits:

“Despite this pattern of domestic use of military resources, the Posse Comitatus Act does impose meaningful limits on the military. Troops are barred from “executing the law” which includes taking an active role in direct law enforcement activities. As explained by a federal district court in South Dakota several decades ago, “the clause ‘to execute the laws’, contained in 18 U.S.C. § 1385, makes unlawful the use of federal military troops in an active role of direct law enforcement by civil law enforcement officers. Activities which constitute an active role in direct law enforcement are: arrest; seizure of evidence; search of a person; search of a building; investigation of crime; interviewing witnesses; pursuit of an escaped civilian prisoner; search of an area for a suspect and other like activities.”


Minnesota news

State of immigration: Where new Minnesotans have come from, from statehood to today (MinnPost, 4/4/18) In the late 1800s, more than a third of Minnesotans were foreign-born. Today it’s less than one-tenth. Minnesota population grew with “a tidal wave” of European immigrants from 1850-1900. Latin American immigration began to increase after 1990. Asian immigration grew after the end of the Vietnam War, with refugee arrivals growing in the 1980s. Immigration from Africa ramped up during the 1990s. …

“The metro areas with the largest shares of Minnesotans born in Latin America can be found in Worthington (13 percent), Austin (5 percent), Faribault and Willmar (3 percent). Two percent of Twin Cities residents were born in Latin America….

“The Twin Cities and Worthington have the largest shares of residents born in Asia, at 4 percent. In Rochester, 3 percent of residents were born in Asia….

“Willmar has the highest share of Africa-born residents of any Minnesota metro area, at 3 percent, followed by Worthington, the Twin Cities, Faribault, St. Cloud, Rochester and Marshall (2 percent).”

Worthington undercount a real possibility in 2020 census (Worthington Daily Globe, 4/4/18) Non-citizens are generally undercounted, and addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census threatens to make that undercount even worse.

“Worthington leaders believe the city is already undercounted. A major undercount holds consequences, directly impacting the city’s federal and state funding and potentially limiting its access to government programs and grants….

“In 2016, the [American Community Survey] estimated Worthington’s population at 13,136 — lower than the Minnesota State Demographic Center’s 2016 estimate of 13,288….

“… 24.2 percent of the city’s population is made up of non-citizens. That number easily crushes the ratio in large, diverse population centers such as St. Paul, Minneapolis and Rochester, which sit at 9.6, 8.7 and 7 percent, respectively.”

Breaking a promise to soldiers

ICE is moving to deport a veteran after Mattis assured that would not happen (Washington Post, 4/4/18)

“Immigration and Customs Enforcement appears to have ignored a directive from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to prevent the deportation of noncitizen troops and veterans, seeking to remove a Chinese immigrant despite laws that allow veterans with honorable service to naturalize, court filings show….

“How Zhu got in his predicament is a strange, bureaucratic odyssey after he graduated from Beloit College in Wisconsin in 2013. He wanted to become a U.S. citizen, so he decided to enlist through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program that his father in China had read about. It trades expedited citizenship for language and medical skills in short supply among U.S.-born recruits.”

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s