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New Immigration Bill- Will US Military Take Orders From Homeland Security?

Additional questions and concerns about the U.S. Senate’s bipartisan immigration reform bill, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act continue to swirl among critics of the proposed legislation, and now some are questioning whether the legislation would subordinate the the U.S. military and place it under direction of the Department of Homeland Security.

The bill is said to strengthen border security, and has given the American people, who have been asking for the U.S. Military to be positioned along the Southern border, the belief that the U.S. Military will be placed on the border to, in essence, ‘shut down’ the border.

But the bill doesn’t guarantee that this will happen. The bill states that “with the approval of the Secretary of Defense, the Governor of a State may order units or personnel of the National Guard” to assist with border security or other “missions.”

So, if authorized by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, it would be up to Governors Perry of Texas, Jan Brewer of Arizona, and Martinez of New Mexico, to deploy their state’s respective national guard units to the border region.

Keep in mind that the “Southwest Border Region” has been identified by the Department of Homeland Security of being the land that is within 100 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. This would means that the city of Tucson, Arizona, as well as the California cities of San Diego, Oceanside, and even cities as far north as Mission Viejo, are all situated within the 100 mile border region.

The bill also mandates that the National Guard, if deployed, would assist the U.S. Customs and Border Protection with border protection, and their duties would include, helping construct any and all border fencing, increase ground-based mobile surveillance, and deploying “additional unmanned aerial systems and manned aircraft sufficient to maintain continuous surveillance of the Southern Border.”

But then the bill specifically outlines that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection roll alongside the U.S. Military would include the deployment of  “additional mobile, video, and agent-portable surveillance systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Southwest Border region as necessary to provide 24-hour operation and surveillance,” as well as  “operate unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles” and “deploy unarmed additional fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters along the Southern border.”

It is unclear whether the U.S. military will be cease using armed drones and helicopters when working alongside the U.S. Border Patrol or if it will be ordered to follow an almost non-existent domestic ‘Rules of Engagement’ policy.  Note that the bill does not specify if the “unarmed helicopters” would be allowed to have armed military personnel aboard the aircraft or if it simply means that the aircraft is fitted with weapons.

What do you think about this?

Here’s the language of the bill as it currently reads

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