WASHINGTON, DC, April 11, 2018 – Today, seven House Democratic national security leaders sent a letter to Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary James Mattis to oppose President Trump’s recent decision to deploy National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. Given the potential cost and with border crossings at a 40-year low, the Administration must provide a thorough justification and plan for any deployment of troops and use of taxpayer funds. News reports indicate the Administration is only now drafting a deployment plan, indicating how rushed this decision was, while some governors have now begun committing troops for this operation.
The letter was signed by House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith, Committee on Homeland Security Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson, Judiciary Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler, Oversight & Government Reform Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings, Homeland Security Border & Maritime Security Ranking Member Filemon Vela, Judiciary Immigration & Border Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren, and Oversight & Government Reform National Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Stephen F. Lynch.
In the letter, the Members write:
“A deployment of this kind is not to be made lightly. Thorough consideration of the justification for such a deployment, along with the implications and costs for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Defense (DOD), and affected stakeholders well in advance of such a deployment are both required and essential.”
“As you are undoubtedly aware, border security has been a rigorously discussed topic over the past year. We are surprised and puzzled as to why neither of you nor other members of the Administration mentioned a possible deployment of the National Guard to the southern border before. For example, Secretary Nielsen never once mentioned the potential need to use the National Guard for border security purposes when testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 16, 2018. In subsequent press briefings and televised Cabinet meetings, this approach was not discussed either.”
“A hastily and poorly designed deployment could have significant negative impacts on our national security, border security, and on the communities located along the U.S.-Mexico border.”