Trump's sending troops to the border while the number of illegal crossings plummet.
It turns out Trump is sending National Guard troops to the southern border with Mexico in order to help fix flat tires.
The boring reality of the pending grunt work doesn’t match the hysterical, dishonest rhetoric Trump has been using about America being invaded by foreigners and the need for a sudden military solution to fend off the hordes.
But Trump lies about everything, and this is no exception.
Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric and policy comes as the number of illegal border crossings in the U.S. continues to plunge, while the number of border patrol agents has doubled over the last decade. Once again, Trump is demanding a rushed and radical policy solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.
“We’re toughening up at the border,” Trump boasted on Thursday, touting his National Guard move. “We cannot let people enter our country — we have no idea who they are, what they do, where they came from.”
In reality, it’s almost comical how huge the gap is between Trump’s claims about securing the border and the reality of what the National Guard will be assigned to do as part of Trump’s southern production.
“A host of legal restrictions on what troops are actually allowed to do at the border paired with historically low levels of attempted illegal border crossings leave more questions than answers about what the troops at the border will actually be able to accomplish,” CNN reports.
So no, despite Trump’s action-movie rhetoric, National Guard troops won’t be arresting undocumented immigrants or hunting down would-be drug smugglers.
Instead, they’ll likely be fixing flat tires — “vehicle maintenance” — and repairing access roads. That’s according to Border Patrol Assistant Chief Carry Huffman, who told CNN troops would also be monitoring surveillance feeds.
Meanwhile, “We’ll get the bad publicity,” Tony Martinez, the mayor of Brownsville, Texas, complained to the New York Times about Trump’s overheated move. “Nobody is sitting around here locking their doors and taping up their windows … This charade that Washington, or Trump more particularly, is imposing on the border is nothing more than empty rhetoric.”
Trump isn’t the first president to send the National Guard to the border. But he is the first to do it while blanketing the move in racist rhetoric. He’s also the first president to send troops at a time when illegal crossing are at a historic low.
When George W. Bush sent troops in 2006, there were more than 1 million people apprehended at the border each year, CNN notes. When President Obama sent troops in 2010, there were 450,000 apprehensions. Last year, that number dropped all the way down to 300,000.
But hey, Trump watched Fox News over the weekend and hosts warned him that a mythical marauding “caravan” of would-be Central American immigrants was winding its way through Mexico and heading for the U.S.
“The big Caravan of People from Honduras, now coming across Mexico and heading to our ‘Weak Laws’ Border, had better be stopped before it gets there,” Trump tweeted.
In truth, the caravan was a peaceful human rights march that has been staged annually for years to highlight the plight of refugees.
And each year, the U.S. border has survived intact. But now Trump’s shipping out troops for vehicle maintenance duty.