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Editorial: Extending Arrest Power to Guard Troops Is Unnecessary

By Editorial Board
Beaumont Enterprise  

If there’s anything worse than Gov. Rick Perry sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the Mexican border to boost his presidential hopes, it’s Sen. Ted Cruz calling for them to have federal arrest powers – to boost his presidential hopes.

That’s a bad idea, and someone like Cruz who says he’s a strict constitutionalist should know that. Members of the National Guard and regular military have long been restricted by U.S. laws and customs from these kinds of police duties. Their job is to fight wars. If they are deployed domestically, invariably it’s in response to a natural disaster.

Guard troops have no training in arresting or detaining illegal immigrants. While that’s not an extremely complicated practice, it’s also not something you just start doing on a whim. There’s no reason this task can’t be handled by law enforcement or Border Patrol agents, who already know what they’re doing.
Texans should not be misled by these political stunts. Perry called out the National Guard to impress the people of Iowa and New Hampshire as much as those in Texas. Now Cruz realizes that he has to ratchet up the noise to keep pace with his rival in Texas.

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