US military should fight enemies, not detain immigrants

| Jul 6, 2018

By Mark Hannah, Senior Fellow

This article appeared in The Hill on July 6, 2018.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recently told reporters that two military bases in Texas will house immigrants — Fort Bliss in El Paso and Goodfellow Air Base in San Angelo. This comes on the heels of last week’s request by the Trump administration that the U.S. military get ready to house 20,000 immigrant children.

While many Americans are justly horrified by the callous treatment of immigrant families, there is another population for whom this policy shows a wanton disregard: the U.S. Armed Forces. The brave men and women of the American military are trained warfighters, not caregivers. President Trump should stop misusing their proficiency and patriotism to advance a dishonest immigration agenda.

Military responses are appropriate when our country is faced with a true national security threat, but the idea that immigrants pose such a threat has been thoroughly debunked. Many studies show that immigrants commit crimes less often than native-born Americans, and cities with growing immigrant populations are becoming less violent, not more.

For all the Trump administration’s alarmist rhetoric about gangs infiltrating the U.S., recent Border Patrol data shows that fewer than one-tenth of one percent of migrants captured at the Southern border are even suspected of having gang affiliations. President Trump’s claim that immigrants are bringing “drugs and crime” simply does not add up.

Read more of Mark’s article in The Hill.

Written by Mark Hannah

Mark is a senior fellow with the Independent America project at the Institute for Global Affairs and host of the podcast, None Of The Above.

Read more from Mark

This post is part of Independent America, a research project led out by IGA senior fellow Mark Hannah, which seeks to explore how US foreign policy could better be tailored to new global realities and to the preferences of American voters.

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