By Mark F. Gray
AFRO Staff Writer
While the rest of the nation seems engrossed by the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump, a group of 27 lawmakers – including Democratic Congressman Anthony Brown (MD-4) – wants answers from the administration regarding how the funding for the border wall construction is affecting the military’s ability to protect national security.
In a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Maryland’s 4th District Congressman led a bi-partisan group of Congressional members who are asking for clarity about the administration’s plan to divert billions of dollars in military funds to the construction of additional fencing and barriers along the U.S.- Mexico border.
Brown, who is also vice chair of the Armed Services Committee, joined, Democratic Representatives Gill Cisneros (CA-39), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and 23 other lawmakers in drafting the letter that scrutinized President Trump’s “vanity project” that is supposed to increase southern border security. Their major concern remains how the President continues to usurp Congressional authority after Congress approved more funding for the wall that was initially supposed to be funded totally by Mexico according to Trump’s 2016 campaign promise.
“Despite the significant resources appropriated by Congress for border security, the Administration still decided to circumvent Congress,” the lawmakers wrote. “The military construction projects being delayed or cancelled will increase the over $116 billion maintenance backlog of projects, directly impacting our military readiness and the well-being of our military families.”
The Congressmen don’t believe there is an imminent threat to national security and there is no requirement for the use of military resources to construct a border wall. They also claim the number of apprehensions at the border of Mexico over the last two years continue to be lower than any two years of the George W. Bush administration. The letter also states Department of Defense military and civilian leaders agree the border is safer and funding should not be diverted to the wall’s construction at the expense of the quality of life for military families.
“Military families are paying the price for President Trump’s ineffective vanity project,” said Congressman Anthony Brown in a public statement. “In cancelling hundreds of projects across the country, like improvements to on-base child care centers, the Trump Administration is failing to live up to the promises we have made to our troops and their families. This is no way to support our service members or properly invest in the infrastructure and facilities that keep us safe.”
This group of lawmakers also feel that border security should no longer be under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense. They said that with the current state of international affairs, managing the border is best suited for the Department of Homeland Security, local law enforcement, and humanitarian aid workers instead.
“These actions come as we continue to face diverse, complex and pressing security threats around the globe, while trying to modernize our military and restore readiness,” the letter continued. “The lack of a strategy for the Middle East has led us to significantly heightened tensions with Iran, China and Russia [and] continue to attempt to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model, North Korea remains an agitator in the Pacific, and we continue to support our allies and partners in the fight against terrorism.”