California Sends Troops to the Border

Arizona state officials are seething once again. Apparently, California beat them to deploying national guard troops in a race to the bottom, more appropriately called “how to avoid finding solutions to a broken immigration system.”

In another security movie theater yesterday, Governor Schwarzenegger welcomed 224 troops from the national guard as part of President Barack Obama’s efforts to bolster security along the “porous border.”

Homeland security starts at home. Since we already have bases in Germany and Japan since the World War II era and a 50,000 advisory brigade in Iraq to help run the country, why not put troops on the Southwest border? Deploying national guards along the U.S.-Mexico border gives our courageous young men and women a way to serve their country.

But apparently, the additional troops are not there to combat illegal immigration but to serve as part of the counter-narcotics war on drugs operation. While deploying the national guard to the border, Governor Schwarzenegger was clear that this is not a solution for illegal immigration. “These men and women will provide much needed assistance to help secure our border, but it’s important to remember that this is only the beginning. We must find a permanent solution to our broken immigration system. We need the federal government to step up with even more manpower and funding, and I will continue to push President Obama and Congress for action.”

Here’s a major problem for immigrant rights advocates: border security is increasingly linked to illegal immigration, even though the two issues have very little in common. Along with the mainstream media, right-wingers have effectively sold the mythical border violence narrative of spillover drug cartels led by undocumented immigrants. The frame works out in favor of the government. Targeting non-citizens makes it easier for Americans to swallow increased domestic militarism in the form of more uniformed officers in their lives.

Despite the $600 million border security bill and initial deployment, Republicans are still arguing that the border is not secure enough to discuss comprehensive immigration reform. The Democrats, led by Senator Schumer, have allowed enforcement priority to dominate the debate over illegal immigration. So now, we are stuck acquiescing to the demands of those who are likely to keep demanding increased border security until all the Latinos in their neighborhoods disappear and they never have to hear a word of Spanish again.

Word of advice: That is a pipe-dream, much like deporting 10.8 million undocumented immigrants.

Photo Credit: The National Guard

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