On October 17th, 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported that United States Border Patrol agents arrested 16,658 “family members” at the U.S.-Mexico border in September. This is the highest number of family-related arrests on record.
At the same time this is occurring, President Trump has started to lob more incendiary comments at immigrants. This culminated with a tweet sent on the morning of October 18th in which the president threatened to deploy the United States military “close” to the southern border.
Can President Trump Actually Close the Southern Border?
There is little doubt that the president has some authority to send military troops to the border. For example, President Trump has already deployed 2,100 national guard troops to support border agents in drug-related operations. Other presidents have taken similar steps, using the national guard troops in a limited role.
However, that does not mean that President Trump can do whatever he wants with U.S. military members. Quite the contrary; under federal law (The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878), active duty military units are forbidden from carrying out domestic law enforcement functions. While there are a few carve-outs to this law for emergency circumstances, there are very serious questions about whether it would even be legal for President Trump to follow through on his threat.
Regardless of the legality, shutting down the U.S. border with the military is a ridiculous idea. Migrants are coming to the border to seek asylum, as is their right under United States law. They deserve to be treated fairly and to have their case reviewed by an immigration judge. If they have a valid claim, they should be allowed entry. These families are not a safety threat. That notion is absurd. Beyond that, a true shutdown of the U.S-Mexico border would have devastating consequences — not just for migrants and border communities, but for the entire American economy.
60 Minutes Interview: President Trump Touts Family Separation
Recently, President Trump sat down for an interview with Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes. During the interview — which touched on a number of subjects — the president defended the policy of separating families at the border.
This took place despite the fact that a Homeland Security watchdog group recently wrote a report sharply criticizing the administration for causing chaos at the border. In addition to that, as of October 15th, 2018, 245 families were still separated. Yet, as reported by CBS News, the Trump Administration may be considering a new family separation policy.
It is crucial that everyone remains vigilant. The administration reversed the original family separation policy after receiving incredible push back from the public. Should the administration take similar action again, we need to make our voices heard.
Get Help From a Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer
At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are committed to supporting the rights of immigrants in California. Our legal team is always keeping a close watch on the latest developments in immigration law. For a fully confidential immigration consultation, please call our Los Angeles law office today at (213) 262-2000.