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US President Donald J. Trump meets with Heads of State of the Baltic States at the White House, in Washington D.C on April 3, 2018. EFE / Chris Kleponis
US President Donald J. Trump meets with Heads of State of the Baltic States at the White House, in Washington D.C on April 3, 2018. EFE / Chris Kleponis

Trump wants to "militarize" the border

The President has assured that from now on "things will be done militarily" on the border.

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After Congress denied him the funds for his wall, President Trump is willing to put the chair of the Oval Office on the border, if its necessary, as long as his whims are granted.

In a meeting on Tuesday with the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, in the White House, Trump said he intends to deploy troops to secure the border.

"We have very bad laws for our border, and we are going to be doing some things," he said. "I've been speaking to General Mattis. We’ll be doing things militarily," Trump told reporters during the working lunch together with the leaders of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

"Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’ll be guarding our border with the military. That’s a big step. We really haven’t done that before, or certainly not very much before," he continued.

According to Politico, a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security commented that the measure had been discussed during the last months, but that a decision had not been taken because of “unresolved policy issues". Furthermore, the official said that Secretary of Defense James Mattis "did not want armed troops at the border."

Even so, the president continued the thread of accusations he has maintained over the past few days against immigrants who "are flowing into our country illegally, disappearing and, by the way, never showing up for court."

His tone has increased since a caravan of immigrants crossed the Mexican territory from Honduras to reach the border.

"President Obama made changes that basically created no border," he added.

However, Trump seems to be reinventing the wheel.

As the Military Times explained, previous presidents have resorted to similar measures when securing the border.

For example, between 2006 and 2008, "U.S. military conducted patrols under Operation Jump Start," where President George W. Bush requested 6,000 National Guard members to secure parts of the border.

According to the report, "eventually 29,000 military personnel from all over the country were involved in the mission, which had a projected cost of around 1.2 billion in then-year dollars.”

Similarly, during 2012, President Barack Obama deployed army forces from Ft. Bliss to the areas of Tucson (Arizona) and El Paso (Texas) in the so-called Operation Nimbus.

According to the Army's press release at the time, the military forces carried out "day and night reconnaissance missions using the Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System to detect, recognize, identify and geo-locate possible incursions, which they would then report to Border Patrol agents. Avenger Soldiers, using the Forward Looking Infrared system, and Soldiers monitoring Sentinel radar, also augmented border air incursion detection efforts.”

During the past few weeks, Trump floated the idea of the army paying for the wall, even sharing it on Twitter. Likewise, he would have proposed the idea to Mattis, but according to CNBC, two Democratic Senators refuted the idea arguing that "the Pentagon has no legal authority to use appropriated funds for Trump’s border wall project."

Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) insisted on this point through a letter addressed to Mattis last Monday, in which they warned that the construction of the wall through the army funds would imply "cutting other vital priorities for our service members."

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