Congressional Report Discusses Role of the Military to Secure U.S. Borders

Dallas-based immigration attorney Stewart Rabinowitz offers informed commentary about Congressional Report.

The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is charged with preventing the entry of terrorists, securing the borders, and carrying out immigration enforcement functions. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of DHS, has primary responsibility for securing the borders of the United States, preventing terrorists and their weapons from entering the United States, and enforcing hundreds of U.S. trade and immigration laws. Within CBP, the U.S. Border Patrol’s mission is to detect and prevent the illegal entry of aliens across the nearly 7,000 miles of Mexican and Canadian international borders and 2,000 miles of coastal borders surrounding Florida and Puerto Rico.

In 2006, in response to requests for support enforcing federal immigration laws from the governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, President George W. Bush announced the deployment of up to 6,000 National Guard troops along the southern border to support the Border Patrol.

“What Bush did was unprecedented only in respect to the large potential number of National Guard troops to be used explicitly for that purpose, but it was certainly an escalation of the status quo,” explained Dallas-based immigration attorney Stewart Rabinowitz, “Bush also received a lot of political pressure from Conservatives to take such action.”

During 2006-2008, more than 30,000 individuals participated in the mission “Operation Jump Start.”

“There’s considerable debate about what the mission actually jump started,” Rabinowitz said.

The report concluded that illegal drug activities and crime continue. The day after the murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz on March 27, 2010, the Border Patrol seized 290 pounds of marijuana near his ranch. “That incident was also one of several catalysts in helping to bring about Arizona’s controversial and now somewhat embattled immigration law, Senate Bill 1070,” Rabinowitz concluded, “Of course it more directly brought about an increased military presence, especially along Arizona’s border with Mexico.”

The primary restriction on military participation in civilian law enforcement activities is the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA). The PCA prohibits the use of the Army and Air Force to execute the domestic laws of the United States except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress.

To learn more about Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C., call 1.972.233.6200 or visit http://www.rabinowitzrabinowitz.com.