In the spring of 2020, Defense Secretary Mark Esper was alarmed to learn that immigration zealot Stephen Miller wanted 250,000 troops sent to the border of Mexico.
Stephen Miller pushed the idea of mass patrol as a means to combat the spread of COVID-19, urging Homeland Security officials to come up with a number of troops needed to swarm the 2,000 mile border and completely close it off.
When the concept was discussed with military officials at Northern Command, Mark Esper was enraged, believing so many troops at the border would compromise military readiness worldwide.
Chad Wolf, acting homeland security secretary at the time, said the 250,000 number was never formally presented to either himself or the Defense Department. By the time Esper was able to confront Miller about the idea, the administration had moved on to applying Title 42, utilizing legal authority to restrict immigration during a health crisis.
Miller was pleased.
“With economies and health care systems faltering across the planet, our southwest border would have become the epicenter of illicit Covid fueled migration — one giant, never-ending superspreader event,” he said. “Instead, the border was successfully sealed and the would-be violators and spreaders got the message and stayed home.”
Border security and immigration control was a fixation of Trump and the Trump administration.
In 2019 Trump used the killings of nine Mormon Americans in the Sierra Madres by drug cartels as evidence of the need to shut down the border of Mexico.
“This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the Earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter soon after the attack.
According to former officials, Trump was repeatedly pushing to invade Mexico, possibly without permission from the Mexican government.
Mexico’s president at the time, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, explicitly rejected Mr. Trump’s tweeted offer to “wage war” on the cartels.
“We appreciate and thank very much President Trump and any foreign government that wants to help, but in these cases we have to act with independence,” he said.