Border Residents on Moving Troops to the Border: "False Efforts"

That border caravan is now down to about 3600 people, down from more than 10,000 at its peak, but the marchers are still determined to get into the U.S., and in Texas, steps are being taken to stop them, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Roger Maier, who is a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection in Texas, says they are watching the situation very closely."These include participating in operational readiness exercizes, including facilitating the continuation of lawful trade and travel, Maier told 1200 WOAI's Michael Board.

But he stresses despite threats, the border is not 'shut down' although he says some northbound traffic is being slowed by the added precautions.

"We will not allow a large group to enter the U.S. unlawfully," he says.  "We will act in accordance with the highest principles of law enforcement, and we will treat intending migrants humanely and professionally at all times."

The Texas Border Coalition, which represents the cities and businesses in Laredo to the Rio Grande Valley, says sending 5200 active duty soldiers to the border is a good example of 'security theater.'

“The Southwest border needs greater investments in personnel, technology and infrastructure at the ports of entry – not false efforts that militarize the border, which harm morale and damage the economy of our region," Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz said.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo), who represents much of the area that is being secured by the troops, agrees.

"If they want to bring more National Guard, I am okay with that," he said.  "But when it comes to active duty military, there's a different law covering that."

He is referring to the 19th Century Posse Comitatus law, which forbids the military from being used for law enforcement, without the express permission of Congress.

"A tremendous negative impact is, if he closes the business, every day there is $1.3 billion in trade between the U.S. and Mexico.  Imagine what would happen to the U.S. economy if that were lost."

Saenz says the solution is comprehensive immigration reform, which Congress has refused to approve, which would include securing the border and making sure the country's ports of entry are open for commerce.

IMAGE: GETTY

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