Oversight Chairmen Warn TSA Not To Divert Agents to Southern US Border

Chairmen on House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are admonishing […]

Oversight Chairmen Warn TSA Not To Divert Agents to Southern US Border



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Janet Ybarra
Democrat
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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Chairmen on House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are admonishing Trump administration officials not to go through with a reported plan to pull Transportation Security Agency workers off their core jobs at the nation’s airports, to join administration activities along the southern border.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the committee, and Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), chairman of the committee’s national security subcommittee, sent a letter to the TSA warning about the potential dangers of alarming new reports that the Trump administration is planning to divert hundreds of TSA employees to the southern border just as airline travel begins to increase for the summer.

“We are deeply concerned that pulling hundreds of TSA employees away from their critical missions at our nation’s airports and sending them to the southern border will weaken aviation security and significantly increase the risks faced by the American people,” the chairmen wrote.  “An obvious and enormous problem with this plan is that TSA employees already have full-time jobs, and the agency needs them to fulfill their critical mission at our nation’s airports, as well as to address vulnerabilities identified by the Government Accountability Office and the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security.”


CNN reported that the Trump administration plans to send TSA employees “to help with efforts to deal with migrant inflows on the southern border just as the busy summer travel season begins.”  Citing an internal email and multiple sources, this report stated that “TSA plans for the deployments to involve up to 175 law enforcement officials and as many as ‘400 people from Security Ops.’”  The article cited an email from one senior TSA official, who warned:  “We also understand we are accepting some risk as we enter a very busy summer.”

For the past year, the Oversight Committee has been examining airport security, and the results of this review have been troubling. For example, last month, in response to a bipartisan request from the Committee, the Government Accountability Office issued a newly declassified report warning that TSA has failed to address existing security vulnerabilities at our nation’s airports.  

“Based on our work, we have grave concerns about the wisdom of any proposal to pull hundreds of TSA employees away from their critical security mission at our nation’s airports to fulfill the President’s immigration policies,” Cummings and Lynch wrote.

Trump has been increasingly fixated on immigration on the southern border of the United States since before the 2018 midterm elections.

Earlier this year, Trump declared a “state of emergency,” so as to bypass Congress and construct the border wall he has long wanted.

Click here to read Monday’s letter to TSA.  




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