Border Crisis: Who Has Authority to Deploy The National Guard?
Thousands of people from Central American counties are pouring through the sieve that is the southern border of the United States of America. The Obama Administration has taken advantage of a change to immigration law, one of the last pieces of legislation signed by George W. Bush in December 2008. It was purported to slow down the trafficking of minors by prohibiting those from non-contiguous countries who manage to make it on to U.S. soil from being quickly sent back to their homeland. The president and his HHS, DHS personnel have decided to enforce this particular law to allow the children, including over one thousand toddlers and infants, to stay on leased space at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, Naval Base Ventura, California, and Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington while waiting for the legal processing involved. I question the notion that all of these persons are unaccompanied children which would make them covered by the 2008 legislation, as the few photos that have made their way out to public view show several mothers holding and caring for the infants. But for now I would like to focus on how this massive wave of children has been able to overwhelm the Border Patrol and make it across the borderline.
There have been calls from all quarters for President Obama to deploy the National Guard and send troops to assist the Border Patrol and to help plug up the holes. Speaker of the House John Boehner sent a letter to the White House on June 20th and just this Wednesday, Texas Governor Rick Perry told Sean Hannity that he had said this to Mr. Obama earlier in the day: “… Mr. President, you can deal with this. You can unilaterally direct the Department of Defense to put those troops on the border.”
Not so, Governor – the president may only deploy National Guard troops in federal missions, by design, but never unilaterally within the U.S. borders, by design. It is actually Gov. Perry who may deploy the Texas troops of the National Guard within his state whenever there is local or statewide emergency, such as this invasion. The same holds for every governor of the southern Border States–each may call their National Guard troops into action and provide the manpower and support necessary to the Border Patrol to secure those States and our nation from further distress.
Each governor may call upon the National Guard troops of his own State but he may not “loan” them to another State for assistance. If the situation is such that more troops are necessary, then the Congress must pass legislation to federalize the National Guard, by design, thus now putting them under the authority of the Commander-in-Chief.
The Army National Guard evolved from the citizen militia of Salem, Massachusetts in 1637 and it was this citizen militia that the Founders expected to defend each sovereign state from domestic violence. They made provision in the Constitution for the Congress to act when necessary due to domestic circumstances:
Article I, Section 8:15
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions
For the same reason the United States Military, under authority of the Commander-in-Chief, may not be deployed within the borders of the U.S., and neither can the president deploy the civilian defense within the borders unless Congress, the representatives of the People and the States, determines the situation is so dire his command is necessary. There is never to be a nationwide civilian military nor a civilian police force, and certainly not under the direction of one person, namely the President, for the protection of the citizenry as a whole.
Just as with most issues affecting our nation, all parts of government have a role to play in this current situation. Safety and security is assured by the elected officials doing their part, coordinating with each other—not passing their responsibility and obligation on to the other.