Dems Largely Silent On Biden’s Announcement To Deploy Troops To The Border After Slamming Trump For Doing The Same
- Most of the Democratic politicians who criticized former President Donald Trump for deploying troops to the southern border have been silent on the Biden administration’s decision to do the same.
- There will be 1,500 military personnel sent to the southern border to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for 90 days, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
- “The Biden administration’s militarization of the border is unacceptable. There is already a humanitarian crisis in the western hemisphere, and deploying military personnel only signals that migrants are a threat that require our nation’s troops to contain. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who is one of only two Democrats out of the 82 who were critical of the Trump administration at the time, to publicly criticize the Biden administration.
Eighty-Two Democratic politicians who previously criticized former President Donald Trump for deploying troops to the southern border have been mostly silent about a similar announcement from the Biden administration.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the 81 Democratic congressional offices of those who previously criticized Trump, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris’ office, and so far none have responded to DCNF’s request for comment. Only three Democratic members of congress, Rep. Nydia Velazquez of New York, New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego, who previously rebuked the Trump administration’s deployment, have made statements regarding the Biden administration’s latest decision to deploy troops to the southern border, and Velazquez and Menendez were the only two to criticize Biden’s move.
Further militarization of our southern border will do nothing to address the root causes of migration and only hurt migrants.
We need real immigration reform. 1,500 troops at the border won't change that. https://t.co/ctJ8kRcN2t
— Rep. Nydia Velazquez (@NydiaVelazquez) May 3, 2023
Gallego said the deployment “is needed,” in a statement on Twitter Wednesday.
With Title 42 set to end next week, the announcement of additional troops on Arizona’s border is needed to alleviate some of the burdens our border communities on the frontlines are expected to face.
— Ruben Gallego (@RepRubenGallego) May 3, 2023
Democrats, including Harris, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Washington Rep. Adam Smith spoke out vehemently in 2018 against former President Donald Trump’s decision to deploy roughly 5,800 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.
During the time of the Trump administration deployment, Harris, Sanders and Booker penned a joint letter—all three would end up vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination—to Trump’s secretary of Defense, James Mattis, saying they were “deeply disturbed by the overt politicization of the military” in sending troops to the southern border, The Hill reported.
“The politically-motivated mission misuses active duty servicemembers and wastes Department of Defense (DOD) resources, both of which could compromise military readiness in the face of a true national security threat and heighten the risk of a confrontation between asylum-seekers and armed servicemembers,” they wrote.
The Pentagon announced Tuesday that 1,500 military personnel would be sent to the southern border to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for 90 days. The decision comes ahead of an expected surge in illegal immigration at the southern border after Title 42, the Trump-era public health order used to expel certain illegal immigrants, ends May 11.
Like the Trump deployment, the Biden deployment will not use troops to conduct law enforcement activities, the Pentagon said.
Cosigners of the 2018 letter also included Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley, Menendez, Ben Cardin, Ed Markey, Ron Wyden and Chris Van Hollen.
“The Biden administration’s militarization of the border is unacceptable. There is already a humanitarian crisis in the western hemisphere, and deploying military personnel only signals that migrants are a threat that require our nation’s troops to contain. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Menendez said in a statement Tuesday
“The Administration has had over two years to plan for the eventual end of this Trump-era policy in a way that does not compromise our values as a country. I have offered them a strategic and comprehensive plan, which they have ignored. Trying to score political points or intimidate migrants by sending military to the border caters to the Republican party’s xenophobic attacks on our asylum system,” he said.
Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Brian Schatz of Hawaii also penned a letter in 2018 urging Mattis to send troops deployed to the southern border home for the Thanksgiving holiday, saying Trump’s deployment stoked “fear and xenophobia.”
“Many of us have previously detailed our concern with this deployment and use of active duty forces. The administration’s rationale for deploying troops was to evoke fear and xenophobia and does not serve a genuine national security purpose. Continuing to rely on active duty troops militarizes the border and normalizes the deployment of active duty forces domestically – a dangerous precedent for any democracy,” the group wrote at the time.
A similar letter sent in 2018 was co-signed by Democrats, including California Rep. Eric Swalwell, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal.
“This effort is nothing short of a militarization of the southern border to score political points and stoke misleading fears among Americans regarding immigrants,” the letter stated.
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