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On the morning of March 16, 1916, with World War I already raging in Europe but America still neutral, the Mexican bandito Pancho Villa led a military raid on the dusty border town of Columbus, New Mexico. At that time, New Mexico had just passed the fourth anniversary of its statehood and remained a sparsely populated outpost in the desert southwest. Still, there was an U.S. Army garrison there—and it was our soldiers whom Villa attacked in his daring assault on American territory.
The raid was repulsed; the Americans killed 16 Mexican nationals on our side of the border, and chased Villa back into Mexico. But the incident outraged the nation, and President Wilson ordered a punitive expedition to hunt Villa down and bring him back, dead or alive. (Presidents didn’t fool around in those days.) Under the command of General “Black Jack” Pershing, the Army drove deep into Mexico, but 11 months of searching failed to locate Villa. The troops returned, having gained valuable combat experience; shortly thereafter the United States entered the war, with Pershing commanding the American Expeditionary Forces, and they took some of the lessons they’d learned in Mexico to France with them.
Today there’s another attempted invasion of America, also by Latin Americans: the various “caravans” (a charming, romantic label invented by the media to make the marchers seem less threatening and less, well, illegal), mushing their way up from the Central American hellholes of El Salvador (home of MS-13), Honduras, and Guatemala, bent on barreling through the absurd loopholes of “compassion” that mark American immigration law and straight into the arms of the American welfare system and the remittance offices. That they are “unarmed” matters not one whit, given their high predilection for violence that would make their Amerindian ancestors blush.
And yet, somehow, we’re not supposed to care. It’s as if America was a boundless charity instead of a sovereign nation, and a pitiful, helpless charity at that, with no say over who becomes the recipient of its deeply in-hock largesse. “Everybody has won, and all must have prizes,” says the Dodo Bird in Alice in Wonderland, and right now there’s no bigger Dodo than Uncle Sucker.
So President Trump’s order to send more than 5,000 troops to the border to prevent the illegal aliens from crossing the line is a welcome development. Forget the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the use of the military in domestic matters, i.e. law enforcement—this is no matter for local sheriffs or even just the Border Patrol, but is rather a national-security issue. There’s no question that the military can and should be used to repel an invasion; all that’s needed is to call the situation what it is. Instead of “caravans” and “migrants” let us speak instead of “armies” (ABC tried that and immediately got its mouth washed out with soap, which tells you something about the statement’s veracity) and “invaders.” But in the era of P.C.-speak, such plain talk is the truth that dare not utter its name.
Trump, however, was elected in large part because of his willingness to thumb his nose at political correctness, to call a spade a spade, and to expose the chinks in the armor of those dishonest opponents who seem to think there’s only one possible meaning to any word in the English language as long as it can be interpreted invidiously or assigned a racial subtext. Which is why his declaration on Tuesday that he will seek, by executive order, to return to the original meaning of the 14th Amendment and thus eliminate “birthright citizenship” makes, in the “migrant” context, complete sense. As I wrote at PJ Media:
Our immigration laws were designed for lawful immigration, with some carve-outs for genuine refugees and asylum-seekers. What they were not designed to do is absorb a calculated onslaught of lawbreakers with no beneficent intent; instead, these people are very clear about their purpose: to manipulate the loopholes of the laws, force entry, earn money, and send it back home to their “countries” of origin—three of which are among the most savage and violent places on earth. America has no domestic need for these people, and no moral obligation to admit them, especially under these circumstances. There is no war ongoing in their homelands (the violence is entirely of their own making, and cultural history) and economic “refugees” can apply through proper channels like everybody else. America is a sovereign nation, not an international charity.
What Trump has done, in his belligerent way, is to suddenly refocus the debate, just as the caravan approaches and the midterms loom. No doubt, his executive order, should it be forthcoming, will be quickly found unconstitutional by a federal judge, who will promptly issue a nationwide injunction against its enforcement. Such an order will be appealed to the Supreme Court for expedited argument and decision, and very likely (as with the “Muslim ban”) will be upheld.
Why? Because, contrary to the popular understanding of Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court is not the sole arbiter of what is constitutional. Each member of the three branches swears an oath to uphold the constitution, and none of the three is superior to the others in its understanding of what is or is not constitutional. The president has a strong argument to make that, with an invading army of cultural hostiles heading our way, his responsibility for American national security trumps whatever claim foreign nationals have on our good will, hospitality—or citizenship.
If the social developments of the past half-century weren’t clear enough—and in case you’d like a peek, please come and visit the corner of Sixth and Alvarado streets near downtown Los Angeles to see what my friend and colleague Victor Davis Hanson has so aptly termed Mexifornia—then the “migrant” “caravan” ought to do the trick. Trump has an uncanny knack for picking the right fight at the right time with the right enemies, and the reflexive defense of the invasion is the starkest possible example of how little good will the American Left bears for its own country.
The radicals are betting that visuals of American soldiers holding off suffering women and children who after all are only seeking a “better life,” perhaps at gunpoint, will destroy the Republican Party next week in the midterms; that’s precisely why they’ve engineered this Astroturf offensive. If there were any real reporters left, instead of a bunch of bien-pensant political columnists, we might actually learn who is behind the staggering logistics of moving this army such a long way in so short a time. (Ulysses S. Grant would be envious.) Real patriots, however, want to see the line of demarcation upheld, both for the sake and safety of the “migrants” and for our own. This is not a matter of compassion but a matter of law.
Pershing may not have captured Villa, but the punitive expedition sorted out the problems along the border for nearly a century. There are times when passive-aggressive force needs to be met with force, and this is one of them. Let’s see if Trump has the intestinal fortitude to go through with it—and whether the American people reward him and the GOP for peacefully but firmly holding the line.
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Photo Credit: Santiago Billy/AFP/Getty Images