In a White House Memo, Trump’s new idea to push immigrants from our country is to mobilize over 100,000 National Guardsmen to deport unauthorized immigrants. This naturally has many people worried, but the real question is whether or not Trump even has the authority to do such a thing.
First in foremost in addressing this particular issue can be addressed via the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 which explicitly forbids to usage of the United States Army and Air Force in participating in law enforcement activities. What is important to note, is that the Navy (and the Marine Corps) are not included in this Act, although internal regulations have been implemented that would prevent the usage of Navy and Marine Corps personnel in domestic law enforcement activities.
State Governors possess the authority on executing orders that would mobilize the national guard in the event of a “man-made” crisis. Were Trump to even attempt to utilize the National Guard as a militarized wing of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) like a deportation goon squad, the President will have to contend with the State Governors. Much like his experience with the judiciary in his initial attempt to ban immigrants from our nation, Trump may find himself with Governors refusing to carry out his directives. In this event, he would be forced to Federalize the National Guard to do his bidding under Title 10.
Could he legally be able to accomplish such an act? It certainly is not unprecedented. In 1957, President Eisenhower Federalized the Arkansas National Guard in order to enforce racial integration of schools in Little Rock. In 1963, President Kennedy went toe-to-toe with Governor George Wallace, and ultimately Federalized the Alabama National Guard in order to force the Segregationist Wallace to comply with racial integration. These two high profile occurrences…stand in stark contrast with current proposals to use the National Guard as a deportation force. Where, the National Guard was a proponent of integration and tearing down the walls of racial segregation…Trump would use the National Guard as a tool to erect further walls and eject immigrants from our nation.
Were Trump to meet with resistance from State Governors, he very likely would attempt to issue an order, federalizing the National Guard either under the provision that he could federalize when “The President is unable with regular forces to execute the laws of the United States.”
Hopefully, such an occurrence never comes to bear beyond this point as it will place our nation at odds with itself and leave us with a number of uncertainties. Is a Governor refusing to carry out an illegal order rebellion? What about the National Guard? Would that be tantamount to treason?
The White house and Department of Homeland Security have rejected claims that they were even considering the deployment of over 100,000 National Guard Troops as a deportation force. Yet, despite it all, it is very hard to put much stock in the truth when it issues forth from Sean Spicer or President Trump these days. To say that the administration as a whole suffers from a pathological need to lie is an understatement. Who knows what the truth actually is at the moment?
What does seem certain though is that immigration will be an issue that persists and proves to be a cause for much heartburn for the President Trump. Not only will he be continuing to battle the press, citizenry, the legislature and the judiciary over this issue…it may prove to be the downfall of his administration if “RussiaGate/KremlinGate” doesn’t do so first. Well…one can still hope and dream.