Previous admin floated sending huge number of troops to border, and even into Mexico, report says

Previous admin floated sending huge number of troops to border, and even into Mexico, report says

We already knew that former White House aide and noted white supremacist Stephen Miller had reportedly been itching for a public health crisis to use as an excuse to keep out immigrants, and got it in the novel coronavirus pandemic. But The New York Times now also reports that Miller had also pursued a failed plan in early 2020 that had involved sending a number of troops to the southern border. The report said that the plan “would have been the largest use of the military inside the United States since the Civil War,” the report said.

The largest because, at one point, a figure of as many as a quarter of a million troops was apparently floated. The report said it wasn’t clear who came up with that 250,000 number, but what it does say is that that administration’s defense secretary shut the idea down.

“In the spring of 2020, Mark T. Esper, the defense secretary, was alarmed to learn of an idea under discussion at a top military command and at the Department of Homeland Security,” The Times said, reporting he was “enraged by Mr. Miller’s plan. In addition, homeland security officials had bypassed his office by taking the idea directly to military officials at Northern Command.” The report said that the idea was apparently never presented to the previous president. It did say that person did float sending troops to Mexico—you know, the country next door to us, and one of our allies—to apparently “hunt drug cartels.”

Meanwhile, Chad Wolf, the former unlawfully appointed acting head of DHS, said a plan with that 250,000 number “never made it to his level,” the report said. And when has Chad ever, ever mislead the American public?

But this also isn’t a story about one person in the previous administration stomping on an absolutely bananas idea, because while Esper might’ve put a stop to this plan, “he eagerly advocated meeting peaceful protests against police violence with a huge increase in violence,” Daily Kos’ Mark Sumner wrote last November. Daily Kos’ Kerry Eleveld also noted Esper lied to the public about the violent and downright creepy photo-op the previous president carried out at a historic Washington, D.C. church. Remember that? That was just last year, folks!

“If Mr. Trump had gone through with the troop deployment, it would have represented a force two and a half times the size of the 100,000 American troops in Afghanistan at the height of the 20-year war in that country,” The Times reported. “It would have also dwarfed the American presence in Iraq during the war there: The maximum number of troops in Iraq at any time was about 170,000.”

So Miller didn’t get what he wanted when it came to troops at the border, but ultimately he really didn’t give a shit because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) policy that the administration would use as an excuse to quickly deport asylum-seekers was already in the works, the report said. “Mr. Miller, who had prevailed in previous clashes with military officials over troop deployments to the border, did not press the issue, according to a person familiar with his thinking.” 

The fact that Miller didn’t push back shows he knew the CDC policy, Title 42, would be far more effective in keeping asylum-seekers out. Title 42 was set to be his primary tool to block asylum-seekers from their rights, and he got Title 42 (through bullying, the Associated Press revealed in late 2020). Unfortunately, the Biden administration has continued using the anti-asylum Title 42 policy, including defending it in court.

Human rights advocates have further noted that asylum-seekers deported under the policy have been subject to violent harm after being expelled. I’m not going to quote him, but The Times’ piece features some words from Miller touting the policy the Biden administration is now defending. Not a great look at all.

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