Northern Command Waiting for Guidance in Colorado Springs as Trump Orders Troops to Border

FILE – In this June 21, 2006, file photo, members of the California National Guard work next to the U.S.-Mexico border fence Wednesday, June 21, 2006, near the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego. President Donald Trump said April 3, 2018, he wants to use the military to secure the U.S.-Mexico border until his promised border wall is built. The Department of Homeland Security and White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment. At the Pentagon, officials were struggling to answer questions about the plan, including rudimentary details on whether it would involve National Guard members, as similar programs in the past have done. But officials appeared to be considering a model similar to a 2006 operation in which former President George W. Bush deployed National Guard troops to the southern border in an effort to increase security and surveillance.(AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)

Compiled by Lisa Phillips of

April 4, 2018

by Tom Roeder

After what insiders say was a surprise announcement by President Donald Trump on Tuesday, the Colorado Springs command that could send U.S. troops to the Mexican border was waiting for guidance.

The U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs oversees U.S. military operations on the continent.

The command on Tuesday knew Trump said he would send troops south to defend the border but had no information on how that might take place.

“We are standing by for guidance,” a spokeswoman said.

Other sources said the command, led by Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson, didn’t have notice of the presidential directive. That means troop movement would require hasty planning at the Peterson Air Force Base command.

But another source at the command said the move could be made by sidestepping the command.

“Nothing exists to tell us what is going to happen,” said the source.

Trump said Tuesday that he had plans for “guarding our border with the military” until his proposed $25 billion border wall is built.

No details have been released on where the troops would deploy or how many would be used to seal the 1,964-mile border.

“We’re going to be doing things militarily. Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military,” Trump said, calling the measure a “big step” that had rarely been done.

At a news conference later, Trump said he soon will meet with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to discuss deploying the military to the border.

“I think it is something we have to do,” Trump said.

The move to use the military to push Trump’s immigration policy could freeze inroads made by Northern Command in fostering a relationship with the Mexican military.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox took to Twitter to object to Trump’s move.

“To militarize the southern border is to provoke more hate and distance … ” Fox wrote. “Somebody has to talk some sense into him, he’s elevating his hate towards Mexico causing a greater conflict.”

After a speaking engagement Tuesday night in Colorado Springs, Fox elaborated, calling the push for border soldiers “the most stupid thing I have learned recently.”

“… we can attain much better results by working with our wisdom, with our intelligence, with our partnership, Mexico and the United States. We can do much better than dividing and fighting with each other,” Fox said.

This would not be Northern Command’s first foray into border issues. In 2014, the command assisted after a flood of children from Latin America fled chaos in their homelands to illegally enter the U.S.

The command established camps for the children and sent U.S. advisers to help the Mexican military stop the flow.

But using the military to enforce immigration laws is a legally thorny proposition.

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 forbids use of active-duty military to enforce U.S. laws. That would limit Trump to using the National Guard, which has limited law-enforcement authority.

The Guard, though, falls under the authority of governors, who would need to sanction the president’s proposal.

It’s been done before. In 2006, President George W. Bush authorized the call-up of more than 32,000 Guard members to back the Border Patrol in its efforts to stem illegal immigration from Mexico.

That $1.2 billion, two-year program saw Guard members keep watch on the ground and in the air in Operation Jump Start. The Guard also provided logistic and administrative support to law enforcement.

Governors of New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and California signed off on Jump Start, authorizing the use of Guard forces. But during that mission, Guard troops let Border Patrol agents handle the law-enforcement work.

The Guard was lauded for its work, with more than 176,000 undocumented migrants captured during the mission. But the cost, nearly $7,000 for every immigrant caught, raised eyebrows in Congress.

That was the largest military mission on the Mexican border since the crisis of 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson sent more than 100,000 Guard troops to counter raids into border states by Mexican insurgents.

They joined Army forces, venturing 500 miles into Mexico in pursuit of insurgent leader Pancho Villa.

Trump’s comments came a day after administration officials announced they were crafting a new legislative package aimed at closing immigration “loopholes,” and Trump called on GOP lawmakers to immediately pass a border bill using the “Nuclear Option if necessary” to muscle it through, as part of a flurry of tweets on the subject over the past several days.

The president also has been declaring protections for so-called Dreamer immigrants “dead,” accusing Democrats of allowing “open borders, drugs and crime” and warning Mexico to halt the passage of “caravans” of immigrants or risk U.S. abandonment of NAFTA.

The Associated Press and Washington Post contributed to this report.

Source:  Northern Command ‘waiting for guidance’ in Colorado Springs as Trump orders troops to border


Federal law prohibits the use of active-duty service members for law enforcement inside the U.S., unless specifically authorized by Congress. But over the past 12 years, presidents have twice sent National Guard troops to the border to bolster security and assist with surveillance and other support. An official said the White House counsel’s office has been working on the idea for several weeks.


“President Trump and senior officials present also agreed on the need to pressure Congress to urgently pass legislation to close legal loopholes exploited by criminal trafficking, narco-terrorist and smuggling organizations,” according to the statement.

Among those who briefed Trump were Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford and White House chief of staff John Kelly.


“The big Caravan of People from Honduras, now coming across Mexico and heading to our ‘Weak Laws’ Border, had better be stopped before it gets there. Cash cow NAFTA is in play, as is foreign aid to Honduras and the countries that allow this to happen. Congress MUST ACT NOW!” Trump tweeted Tuesday.


One of the biggest bits of news on all mainstream media channels is the caravan of illegal immigrants heading toward the United States border with Mexico intending to demand entry into the country.

But from this big story comes a heavy dose of irony as Mexico deports 400 marchers for entering Mexico illegally.


The United States has 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, 39,000 in Japan, 34,805 in Germany, 23,000 in South Korea, and around 5,200 in Iraq. Our military protects the borders of countless nations.

Except our own.

In 1919, we had 18,500 soldiers on the border. “Twice a day every foot of the border line is patrolled by cavalrymen and infantrymen,” the New York Times noted.

A hundred years later, President Trump’s proposal to use the military to secure the border is controversial even though Marines fighting drug cartels have come under fire from drug smugglers.


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