Democrats throw spotlight on Trump's troop deployment to U.S.-Mexico border
As the Pentagon weighs new troop deployments to the U.S.-Mexico border, Democrats in Congress are poised to usher in unprecedented scrutiny of a politically charged mission championed by Republican President Donald Trump, Trend reports referring to Reuters.
Democratic Representative Adam Smith, the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, will hold a hearing on Tuesday with Pentagon officials he hopes will shed light on the costs, scope and goals of a deployment that critics have derided as a political stunt.
U.S. officials told Reuters the border deployment, which has fluctuated in size over the past three months, could grow again by as many as 2,000 or more troops.
Smith is skeptical about sending U.S. troops to deal with a crisis he believes would be better handled by judges. He told Reuters his committee may consider future funding restrictions for such missions.
“It’s undeniable that we have a significant increase in asylum seekers,” Smith said.
“But that’s not so much a job for the military as it is: we need more judges. We need to process them (the asylum seekers) more quickly,” he said.
Smith will receive testimony on Tuesday morning from John Rood, under secretary of defense for policy, and Vice Admiral Michael Gilday, the director of operations at the Joint Staff.
It is the first oversight hearing by the committee since Democrats took over the majority of the House of Representatives this month, a sign of the issue’s importance.
The Pentagon first approved the high-profile deployment of active duty U.S. troops to the Mexico border in October, ahead of U.S. midterm congressional elections. It was embraced by Trump’s supporters, including Republicans in Congress.
However, critics assailed the deployment as a political stunt to drive Republican voters to the polls and scoffed at Trump’s comparisons of caravans of Central American migrants, including women and children, to an “invasion.”