President Bush is going to propose deployment of some units of the National Guard to the US/Mexico border. The deployment, of fewer than 10,000 troops, is supposed to bolster the US Border Patrol, while it supposedly builds up its resources to better guard the frontier from illegal immigration.
This is all to the good, but is clearly a move adopted under political pressure, and cannot be much more than a stop-gap. The National Guard is not properly trained, nor equipped to serve as a Border Police. Hopefully, units deployed to the border receive proper training, equipment and indoctrination, and understand the Rules of Engagement.
Will the guardsmen have powers to stop and arrest illegals ? What will they do if border crossers do not obey commands to stop ? What will the National Guard do if it is fired upon ? What will it do if fired upon from the Mexican side of the border ? All of these issues must be considered and addressed before any National Guardsmen go to the border.
The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (at least the US Border Patrol portion) is clearly overstretched and lacks necessary human and financial resources to do its job. This fact alone is an indictment of US security and immigration policy, for which both political parties share responsibility.
What is needed is the expansion of the Border Patrol into a much larger, paramilitary organization, somewhat like the old German Bundesgrenzschutz, the French Gendarmerie Nationale, the Israeli Mishmar HaGvul, (Border Police), or the Spanish Guardia Civil. Still, the National Guard deployment is a first step towards regaining some control over our national borders.