Editor’s Note: Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) this week released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement that he plans to deploy U.S. troops to the southern border; and a response to President Trump’s proposal to pay for his border wall with military funds.
Once again, President Trump wants to use our brave men and women in uniform to send a divisive political message. Now he intends to employ our Armed Forces to advance his extreme anti-immigrant agenda, while wasting time, resources and money and depleting our military strength in areas of real danger. That’s an insult to our troops and it will harm our military as an institution. Congress must stop this misguided scheme.
The truth is our southwest border has never been more secure. Apprehensions are down significantly and border communities are among the safest in the nation. More importantly, we already have America’s largest law enforcement agency – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – patrolling our borders and guarding our ports-of-entry.
We can’t allow Donald Trump to steal already-limited resources from our troops to fund a pointless border wall that will serve little other purpose than to satisfy his own fragile ego.
Our military personnel don’t have the right training or legal authorities for this mission. They shouldn’t be diverted from the very real threats we face around the world to stand guard against dangers that exist only in President Trump’s fevered imagination.
Moreover, border communities don’t want soldiers patrolling their streets. Donald Trump should heed their voices instead of those of the anti-immigrant extremists in his administration, like Stephen Miller, who have never served in uniform and don’t have the best interests of our military or our country at heart.
As a Marine Corps veteran who fought in Iraq, I saw firsthand the devastation and loss of life that results when our troops are not given the proper equipment to protect themselves and fight our enemies. I’ve also met military families who rely on government-funded services to provide for their families as they scrape to get by.
We can’t allow Donald Trump to steal already-limited resources from our troops to fund a pointless border wall that will serve little other purpose than to satisfy his own fragile ego. This money is meant to help our men and women in uniform – not to fulfill ill-advised campaign promises.
Last year, I introduced an amendment that would have prevented Trump from irresponsibly siphoning our defense funds to pay for a useless wall that will do nothing to keep our nation safe. I plan to reintroduce that amendment this spring when the House Armed Services Committee marks up this year’s defense spending bill.
I hope that Speaker Ryan will have the backbone to allow an up-or-down vote on the House floor, and that my GOP colleagues will have the courage and integrity to put our military families first and say no to Donald Trump.
Congressman Ruben Gallego represents Arizona’s District 7.