During his presidential election campaign, Donald Trump had promised to build a US-Mexico border wall which will prevent entry of unwanted elements like illegal immigrants, drug smugglers, and criminals. His intention was to make America safe from those who could harm people. Work on the wall has started with designing a few prototypes but the recent influx of people from Central America has got the administration worried.

New York Times reports that President Trump plans to deploy the National Guard to the southern border in view of the rising threat from unchecked immigration from places like Honduras.

This is normally handled by the immigration authorities but he wants the military to take on this task.

Need for the military

The US Border Patrol admits that the number of illegal immigrants caught at the border last years was the lowest since 1971. In spite of that, there are efforts to strengthen legislation to block the entry of migrants and asylum seekers, including young unaccompanied children. The idea by Donald Trump to deploy the National Guard has surprised his advisers.

He has justified his stand by saying that the existing legislation is not only lax but ineffective as well. This is attracting the migrants to the United States from Central America, and the military should be involved to check this trend.

The president is believed to have discussed this issue with Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense, members of the national security team and others who matter.

There is a precedent

The strategy to use the National Guard on the border is not a new concept. According to the Washington Post, former President Barack Obama and George W.

Bush had deployed National Guard troops when there were concerns over security or when it was necessary to address humanitarian needs. In 2010 the Obama administration sent 1,200 National Guard troops to the southern border. Their task was to extend assistance to Border Patrol and immigration officials to counter the menace of drug trafficking.

Incidentally, members of the military cannot arrest immigrants, but they can work as “eyes” for Border Patrol agents.

The latest influx is from Honduras. The country received millions in aid from the United States in fiscal 2016, and Donald Trump has threatened to cut off this aid if illegal migrants keep trying to enter the United States via Mexico. It seems they arrive from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras which have the highest homicide rates in the world. They do not sneak in, but surrender to the U.S. agents and seek asylum on compassionate grounds quoting instability in their countries.

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