Need some quick talking points to explain to folks why sending the US Army to the southern border is a terrible idea? If someone needs this explained to them, it’s unlikely that appeals to the human dignity or respect for the asylum process will work. So here are some points that appeal to concerns about our own military:
- We’ve been in Afghanistan for 17 years now. The War on Terror has required tremendous sacrifice from our soldiers. We shouldn’t ask them to do anything unnecessary for national security. Why take a soldier away from home for another Thanksgiving and Christmas when there is no imminent threat from asylum-seekers?
- The opportunity costs here are too high. The US army needs to keep its focus on fighting and training. This excursion to the border is neither.
- Moving forces to the southern border takes troops out of duties that are more important to our national security.
- Trump was clear during his campaign that he expects military obedience to his orders even when such orders violate the law. He has repeated that expectation since coming into office. He will place our troops into the awkward position of either obeying him and committing a crime or disobeying him. Disobedience to his illegal orders will delegitimize him as Commander-in-Chief and reveal chaos that other nations will exploit.
- Congress acted over 100 years ago to ensure that the military could not legally enforce domestic policy. One day, Trump won’t be president, but the precedent of Trump’s action will be in place. If you don’t want a future president to be able to use the military illegally, don’t let him violate the law to use it here.
- We already have agencies that work on the issue of immigrants and asylum-seekers, and we have the National Guard to protect the border if we should ever face a need to do so. Bringing the military to the border confuses the order of authority and shows disrespect for those who best understand the on-the-ground situation and who have been tasked by Congress for this work.
- Military operations without Congressional approval are a sign of the upward suck of power from Congress to the Presidency. Congress must do its job, and the President must respect Congress’s laws, including the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the use of the military to enforce domestic laws.
- Domestic extremists, who have been incited to violence because of Trump’s anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about migrants, are far more of a risk in the US than are either immigrants or asylum seekers. Our processes for vetting those who come into the US are incredibly good. The vast majority of terrorism in the US is now committed by white supremacists, who look at the movement of soldiers to the border as a sign of a coming race war and are excited by it. Ratcheting down the rhetoric and the presence of soldiers will make us all safe.
Above, a political cartoon shows members of the US military in formation, a tank behind them. A little girl coming to the US, holding her teddy bear, has a cold. The tank commander calls for backup, saying “Send reinforcements!!! She brought the sniffles!!!” Our military looks foolish and cruel to the world, and every moment that they’re on the border, they’re not doing something they are better trained for and, presumably, needed at.
Have more helpful talking points? Please share them!