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Should the government use National Guard troops to seal the U.S. border with Mexico?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on May 16, 2006

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Photo of Kent Broadfoot

“No, because the problem is the people hiring the illegals, not that they are coming across the border. We need to stop employers from hiring them.”

Photo of Anna Clovis

“No. I think we can use our resources in more productive ways.”

Photo of Jared Ostermann

“I don’t think it should be sealed off because we don’t have the resources to do that. But it wouldn’t be a bad use of National Guard troops to help law enforcement protect the border.”

Photo of Michelle Thomas

“I don’t think so, because they can be used for more important things. You really can’t stop people from coming into the country.”


Kelly Powell 12 years ago

No it should not....But we should charge mexico rent for babysitting their citizens...they in turn could charge countries to the south of them for the citizens that crossed their borders to get to us.

bankboy119 12 years ago

It would be a nice vacation hitme and we'd still be doing something productive.

Kent's got the right idea. Anna and Michelle don't.

neopolss 12 years ago

We can spend billions to fix Iraq, but we can't solve the problems with our neighbors. I guess as long as Americans can visit Cancun, we'll turn a blind eye to the reasons so many are hopping the borders. It's cause and effect. Sometimes going back to basics makes things seem more logical. Sending troops is only dealing with the effect, and doesn't address the cause of the problem.

BunE 12 years ago

Didn't we do this yesterday?

We got what we wanted. Cheap lawncare, roofing and happy meals.

TO control supply, reduce demand.

Ken Broadfoot is a genius. More soldiers, border patrol, nuts that call themselves minutemen or fools on vacation will not stem the tide. We did that in the 1980s and 90s and look at what happened.

Note that the price of labor will go up signiifcantly when this happens. Are we prepared to pay the new wage?

sgtwolverine 12 years ago

The price of gas has risen considerably in the last few years, but we're adjusting. I don't think it would be the end of us if labor prices rose.

Of course, we could offset some of the higher labor costs by reining in labor unions. I'll probably catch some flak for this, but I live where the auto industry is the biggest deal, and the unions have not really done automakers any favors -- they save the favors for themselves. Unions used to be highly necessary, but they've lost quite a bit of usefulness since they were started.

Come on, I'm trying to spur conversation to offset the low number of posts we had yesterday.

sgtwolverine 12 years ago

Really, though, I think it would be best to have illegal Mexican immigrants patrol the border. Wouldn't that work?

KSChick1 12 years ago

run for the border

I'll have a beef burrito and a chimichanga please, with a Code Red Moutain Dew

bankboy119 12 years ago


Completely agree with the union comments.

ms_canada 12 years ago

This guy should think before he opens his mouth. Does he ever do that? This is just another example of the man's stupidity. Has he ever heard of the word Logistics? I don't think that was part of his education.

craigers 12 years ago

They took err jobs!!!!

I love it quigley. Isn't that the episode with all of the aliens? If I remember right, the way they got rid of the aliens from the future was pretty gross.

topflight 12 years ago

Great job Bush, i like the plan. The National Guard members would much rather serve their time in the USA than Iraq. For those of you who don't think there is a problem, open your eyes Lawrence Democrats. (other wise known as hippies)

Linda Endicott 12 years ago

From what I've read, a lot of illegal immigrants come here in order to get jobs and earn money. And most of that money is sent back to their home countries to support family that's left behind. So I think that enforcing laws against companies would drastically drop the number of illegals coming into our country. They come here for jobs and money. If jobs were no longer so easy to obtain, maybe it would make an impact. Companies get off far too easy now for breaking the law. They should be held accountable, and fined out the wazoo.

Remember when the construction industry was a good, well-paying career?

As for sending national guard troops to the's pretty sad, and I don't think a single one of them would admit it publicly, but there are probably a lot of national guard people and their families out there who are somewhat relieved to think that they might be deployed to our borders now, instead of Iraq.

Liberty 12 years ago

If the government would remove the ablility for a corporation to do business in the United States of America, if an illegal alien is found to be employed by them, it would get the attention of all companies. Also put the troops on the boarder to assist the flood of illegals back to Mexico.

The troops needed to be on the border about 20 or 40 million illegals ago. The government does have an agenda to allow this to happen. One should be suspicious of the motive of why they want to put troops on the border at this late stage of the game. These events are all well planned in advance. These events don't just happen by accident.

Christy_K 12 years ago

As a part-time military type person I think this plan is a foolish waste of time. The report I saw indicated that these will be short deployments that will substitute for our annual training, not a long term deployment. If that is the case its doubly foolish. The logistics will be tremendous not to mention the cost to the tax payer. It will be poorly run because two weeks is not enough time to work out how you're going to do this. It takes about a month boots on the ground just to figure out a real deployment. In addition it takes away the troops annual training which is supposed to be dedicated to learning their war mission, like how to stay alive in Iraq! Another waste of good military personnel going down the drain, an additional strain on are part-time military force and better yet making us less prepared for war. This is just a bandaid to try and repair his failing image and will solve nothing.

sunflower_sue 12 years ago

Das, Your Alaskan Seal Pipeline Plan (ASPP) has many problems with it. Do you know how much fish it would take to feed all those seals? Do we have enough trainers available to keep the seals on line? Will the seals be able to acclimate to the hotter temperatures? Is enough water available? What if coyotes start banding together againt the seals? I just dont think it will work...although it is an intriguing idea.

sgtwolverine 12 years ago

Maybe we should just send Seal, the singer. Would that work?

southerngirl 12 years ago

I have worked with illegal and legal immigrants in the past. The form a tight knit community and let the new arrivals know who will hire them and assist the "newbies" until they get on their feet. In previous discussions it has been noted that these folks take the jobs that no one really wants-meat processing, harvesting, landscaping etc. They work very long hours for scrub wages and some will work two or three jobs to get by. I agree that they should have to be citizens to receive benefits, but often it is hard for them. They don't speak the language at all or very little English and the government paperwork and system are difficult to negotiate even for those of us who are native citizens.

I disagree with putting troops on the border, we have overused of National Guard in recent years since they are not bound by the rules that the active duty military. Mr. Bush has taken advantage of that loophole and sent them oversees to fight in undeclaired wars around the globe. There are already 11,000 Border Patrol agents, the government needs to appropriate more funds to create more GS positions for border patrol agents. It's already too little too late, so why not a little later?

This is also a hot political issue with an election looming. Like it or not immigrants have become a force to be reckoned with in our political system. There are enough legal immigrants and they tend to be regular voters (unlike we native citizens). Those Southwestern border states could elect the next President. I just don't see all of this happening until after a major election.

Note to inmate-you crack me up with your comments! Thanks for the laugh. d

james bush 12 years ago

The mechanic does in fact have the correct solution. But Bush put this problem off too long and even exacerbated things with his approach.

Liberty 12 years ago

The Minute-men on the border know what they are doing down there. Suggest Christy-K talk to them. They know more about the border situation than the government ever will.

sgtwolverine 12 years ago

Tom Cruise may get top billing in MI3, but can we at least all agree that Philip Seymour Hoffman is a better actor?

beatrice 12 years ago

So we send the national guard to the borders to play Red Rover, Red Rover. We would need a lot more than 6000 people to cover such a larger border. That will be a chain that can easily be broken.

However, I am torn on this issue. While many terrible things have been said about our neighbors to the south, I don't think this is just a race issue, although racism has played a part by a few of the minuteman types. I don't want people entering the country illegally and we do need to stop it, however, I feel there isn't anywhere near enough enforcement against the illegals (American businesses) hiring them. What if those illegal Americans hiring illegal immigrants faced jail time for a first offense? And don't just stop at the guy who picks up the day laborer, but keep on going up the chain of command to get the CEOs who allow such things to happen. I'll bet the source for hiring would quickly dry up, which would at least slow the number of people coming here illegally since they couldn't find work. But that won't happen because we like our fruits and vegetables as cheap as we can get them. Plus, that would be going after the root of the problem - money, and we know how Bush loves those with money more than anything else.

Once again, since 6000 troops aren't enough to actually be effective, Bush has shown that he is all about perception rather than reality.

chilipepper 12 years ago

What a stupid ideal especially for a president. Listen people, isn't this suppose to be "The Land of the Free"? Maybe all of you who want the border patrolled by 6,000 guards should try living in Mexico. The mexicans that come over here are just trying to make a living for themselves and their families. Where is your American compassion?

legolas1996 12 years ago

I would normally say that the National Guard should not be used in this type of situation. But I believe that the situation has gotten out of hand that we have no choice but to send the troops in for a couple of years.

I also agree that we should grant citizenship for those illegal immigrants who are already here. Those who try to come over the border from now on should have to go through the process of becoming a citizen instead of being able to become instant citizens.

So I think we can take a situation that has gotten out of hand and make it into a positive.

legolas1996 12 years ago

Question of the Day:

What if the shoe was on the other foot? If Americans were trying to get into Mexico, do you think they would grant us instant citizenship just because we wanted to make a better living for ourselves or would they deport us back to the US? Please tell me your thoughts and why.

badger 12 years ago

chilipepper -

I keep my American compassion in the same American box with my American respect for American law created by the American system of American government.

And my American compassion says that when people cross the American border against the rule of that American law, the American system of American justice provides for American penalties if they are discovered. Consequently, American predators who lack American compassion and are only interested in American profit can use the American threat of those American penalties to exploit those people who came in against the rules of American law, creating a disenfranchised and impoverished non-American class living on American soil, and that's unconscionable.

Get off the high horse, there, sweetcheeks, before you fall out of the saddle. Some of us who oppose illegal immigration are acting out of compassion, and if you weren't so busy patting yourself on the morality, you could maybe see that.

Liberty 12 years ago

There are drug wars between two groups going on at the border for territory control. There are gun fights and they are using RPG's on the border. This is reported by a sheriff in Texas:

sunflower_sue 12 years ago

Das, I have your water problem solved. This country is sitting on vast amounts of a certain brand of saline solution for contact lens wearers that people are too freaked out to buy. We simply send it all to the borders for the seals. (Hopefully they won't catch any eye fungus.)

RI, in my experience, the best way to remove an "illegal" setting up residence under the porch is to put an empty tuna can in a live trap (They LOVE tuna). In the morning, simply throw a burnable sheet over the cage (they are like birds in this respect) and haul him back to where he came from. As long as he can't see you, he won't attack! (The hubby has done this several times with 100% satisfaction.) Maybe you can find a neighbor that will harbor the "illegal." ;)

Theresa1000 12 years ago

I have a "great" idea: we could just annex Mexico! Then they wouldn't have to move anywhere.

gphawk89 12 years ago

Yes, by all means. That's what they're for. "National Guard" - isn't their purpose self-evident? Guard the Nation?

rhd99 12 years ago

Bush wants to cut the National Guard, now he wants to activate them in Afghanistan, Iraq, AND helping Border Patrol. Doing more with less IS NOT AN OPTION, Mr. President!

Ceallach 12 years ago

TOB, if Texas is given back, does that exclude only current Texans from the US? Will some be allowed to stay in the areas to which they have migrated, or will they be rounded up and sent to Texas? Just asking, er.. uh.. a friend wants to know :-\

Ceallach 12 years ago

Did I miss the part where the National Guard is actually going to "seal" the border? I thought the plan was to have guardspersons take over non-patrol jobs and free up more border patrol to work the border.

Personally, I think making it hard on employers will only solve part of the problem. When illegals come across most of them do no have jobs waiting. I believe they will continue to invade until the borders are more efficiently patroled. It is naive to think that they just meekly come over, find a job, make it cheaper for more Americans to live beyond their means, and live happily ever after. Most are itinerate, moving around the country, working where they can and living off their wits. This country is crazy, an illegal commits a crime, gets caught, goes to court and is either bailed out or released. They aren't stupid, will not return on their court date (who knew that might happen). We are the stupid ones.

I'm really tired of hearing Americans groan because prices of goods, services, etc., might go up. What we are really saying is: It's okay to form a slave labor force since it makes my life better. Most illegals are not living the good life! We should either allow them to stay and be granted the civil rights we all enjoy -- or send them back to seek legal means of entry.

Ceallach 12 years ago

omb: can I have dual citizenship?

acg 12 years ago

I'm counting on you OMB to take care of that Picante sauce thing. That's about the only thing that comes out of TX that I can stand. :) Well, then again, there are the pickup truck driving, mullet having, gun toting bible thumpers. Fodder for so many late night comedic jokes. Without them, who would the rest of us point and laugh at? But then again, we get enough of that out of Arkansas and Alabama. Yeah, give Texas back, keep the Picante sauce.

paladin 12 years ago

It sounds like the Guard units will be doing their summer camps in a Southwestern state instead of spending them at McCoy, Ripley, or someplace similar. Their effectiveness and usefulness will probably amount to about as much as it does at any summer camp, which is practically nil. How effective and useful would anybody be, going into a new job for two weeks, only to look forward to being replaced and going back home after that time? This is purely a political ploy. The Guard will have no weapons and no teeth, and will serve no useful function. The only way to effectively secure the Mexican border is to militarize it, deploying armed federal troops and having them patrol it with orders to shoot to kill, after posting signs warning of that consequence of illegal entry, of course, and in Spanish, of course. Anything less will just not work. The American people will never tolerate this and allow this to be done, rightly or wrongly, so the flood of illegals will go on and only get worse, particularly if their friends and relatives are given a free pass. Almost none of the illegals here five years are going to voluntarily report, pay a fine, pay back taxes, and get an electronic ID. Get real. And none of the ones here less than five years are going to identify themselves and leave volutarily. Don't forget, they have been paid in cash. There are distinct advantages to that. This whole "plan" is nothing but a ruse, designed as the Bush regime's latest slight-of-hand to appease the American people, while corporate mogols pick their pockets and get their cheap labor and put, perhaps, the final nail in the coffin of the American Middle-Class.

Ceallach 12 years ago

acg, are you willing to give up Texas Toast? :):)

KSChick1 12 years ago

We could call it Freedom Toast.

dcjhawk 12 years ago

Ask any student or faculity member at Haskell if an immigration policy works. American Indians have been fighting this losing battle for awhile now.

Linda Aikins 12 years ago

So, when is it a pickup and when is it a truck?

If you call your vehicle with an empty back bed a "truck" and drive through town where there are signs that "No Trucks Allowed," should you be arrested?

Ceallach 12 years ago

omb, my mamasita loves Walker, so no problem there, I've watched him :) I am worried about the second part -- if I am caught roping a doobie, which country will have jurisdiction? If given a choice, I would prefer to stand trial in Lawrence (:-)

Ceallach 12 years ago

Boom Chick1 Boom, I love it -- Freedom Toast!!

Ceallach 12 years ago

Well I know it's not in Wacko Waco. Last trip down I couldn't find a room at the inn in Austin, so I foolishly stayed in Waco. If I even slow down around Waco again it will be to stay in the speed limit. I ran afoul of the law!!! Well, almost -- my Irish mouth very nearly got the rest of me into big trouble. By the time I realized "Bubba" was serious I had to do some fast talking to settle him down! It's funny now, but was not at all amusing at the time.

Ceallach 12 years ago

TOB: do any of them work for the Waco Police Department? I may have met one of them :):)

ms_canada 12 years ago

You know what the trouble is in the good ol' USofA. You all just done too much braggin' about what a wonderful country and what a wonderful like you guys have down there. Everyone wants to get in on the good times. You should take a lesson from your northern neighbour. No one wants to come here. We have to entice them with subsidized lodging and plane fare. Now then S S, you are probably asking, what the heck has ms c got into? Maybe some fermented grapes? What the heck is she talking about. Want to know?

Ceallach 12 years ago

ms_c, I could go to some subsidized lodging and plane fare, oh and don't forget the fermented grapes!

I've just assumed that you did not have the same homeless problems because it just too darned cold up there

headin home!!

ms_canada 12 years ago

ceallach - have a nice evening! Cold, did she say cold? I am trying to find a nice cool place to park my butt and drink my tall iced tea. We have a scorcher here today. Ok, since you are all so curious, I'll tell you. Every spring our market gardeners bring plane loads up from Mexico to work in the gardens. The landscapers are having to pay $20/hr for students this summer and are having trouble getting them. Most of them are working for $25/hr in construction. We are short by 4000 truck drivers in this country. One company here in Edmonton brings them over from Romania, I know because we have a bunch of them in one of our apartment buildings.
I think that the US should build a corridor from the Mexican border to the Can. border, we could sure us some help here. I could use a couple of them to help me in my yard but I can't pay $20/hr. Too bad.

sunflower_sue 12 years ago

Ms_C, buy me a plane ticket, give me a cot, and I'll do all your yardwork for free. OK, maybe you'll have to feed me and give me some fermented grapes every now and then!:)

ms_canada 12 years ago

It's a deal SS. Do you think you could persuade ceallach to come along? I can offer a bit better than a cot.

ms_canada 12 years ago

OMB - you would, no dought, be welcomed with open arms. No kidding! Our Romanians are over worked with long hours on the road, but of course, not more that the law here allows. :o) You know, I did indeed imagine the voice of Willy behind that phrase. I do like Willy.

james bush 12 years ago

I've read this(INS story) a few days ago but can't remember where. Sounds unlikely to me. Bush is right to send in reinforcements. It's too bad he's so tardy in doing so. It's sad in fact.

BorderRat 12 years ago

Fall back to the North side of the Grand Canyon. Easier to defend.

badger 12 years ago

Multi -

That'll only work if the illegal immigrants are Republican lawyers.

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