President Donald Trump's idea for putting the National Guard at the nation's border with Mexico is "problematic," for many reasons, as the demographic of people coming across the line has changed over the years, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Thursday.
"When you talk about military and the border, it conjures up an image of soldiers in uniform standing there with bayonets on the Rio Grande," Johnson, who served in the Obama administration, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"If you deploy the Guard to the border, they can do no more than support and though illegal migration is a fraction of what it used to be, the demographic is totally changed."
Mexico's economy has improved in recent years, so there has been a downturn of people coming from there. Instead, the new immigrants are mainly women and children coming in from Central America and "a lot of them don't expect to evade capture in the first place," said Johnson.
Under Obama, troops also were sent to the border, said Johnson, but "apprehensions are a fraction of what they used to be," because over the last 16 years, the Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations put a wall in place "where it makes sense to build a wall."
Improvements in surveillance technology, aerial surveillance, and adding more Border Patrol agents also will make a difference, said Johnson.
"Ask any Border Patrol expert, they'll tell you what they need more is surveillance vehicles, roads, lights, and possibly people," said Johnson."
While President Barack Obama was in office, he continued, work began with aid in Central America. However, more immigration judges are really what's needed to stop the bottleneck of immigrants.
"Putting more National Guard on the southern border, I feel like I've seen this movie before," said Johnson.
But fundamentally, what's needed is even more aid for Central America, said Johnson.
"These women and children are coming here because they are desperate to get out of Central America," said Johnson.
"It's as bad as places in Syria. And I've spent hours and days in southern Texas with these women and children asking them why did you come here? And the story, very often is 'my mom sent me here because she told me the gangs were going to kill me.'"
There is no amount of National Guard presence that will deter that, even in the long term, said Johnson.
"Perceived changes in migration policy send a shock through the system that lasts short term," said Johnson. "You see short-term downturns but then it reverts back to its traditional patterns which is what we're seeing now."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.