What Trump’s Border Troops Can’t Do by Gary Anderson – Wall Street Journal
The National Guard can report violations, but the law lets only police act on them.
President Trump last week ordered National Guard troops to patrol the U.S. border with Mexico. The president is eager to show supporters that he is fulfilling his campaign pledge to eliminate illegal immigration, but he will soon find that using the National Guard this way won’t be easy—and may not do much to solve the problem.
Unless acting under the authority of a state governor, the troops the president sends to the border will be restricted to observing and reporting violations. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits the military from acting in a law-enforcement capacity on American soil. Only Border Patrol agents and other law-enforcement officers may apprehend drug runners and people attempting to enter the U.S. illegally.
Absent a change in the law, the president’s decision will have limited impact. I know this from hard experience. I have twice been part of efforts to use Defense Department assets to improve control of the U.S.-Mexican border. Both had decidedly mixed success…