Grijalva, House Democrats demand probe of troops deployed to border

“It’s refreshing to finally have a President who keeps his promises.”

House Democrats say that not only are the troops ill-equipped to handle border issues, but their deployment “militarizes” border communities, driving away business and hassling local residents. (Photo by Wissam Melhem/Cronkite News)

By Wissam Melhem

WASHINGTON – Dozens of House Democrats renewed calls Friday for the Defense Department to investigate the legality of President Donald Trump’s decision to deploy thousands of active-duty and National Guard troops to the U.S-Mexico border.

The call comes 18 months after Trump sent guardsmen to help Border Patrol agents handle what he called a crisis at the border, and a year after he buttressed that effort by sending active-duty soldiers.

Democrats say that not only are the troops ill-equipped to handle border issues, but their deployment “militarizes” border communities and could violate a law that bars the use of military forces for domestic enforcement without congressional approval.

“This deployment raises serious concerns about the role our troops are playing on the border,” Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, said Friday. “It threatens to erode long-lasting norms that keep the functions of the U.S. military separate from domestic law enforcement.”

His comments came at a Capitol news conference where lawmakers and advocates pointed to a September letter signed by 34 Democratic House members that called on the Defense Department’s inspector general to investigate the deployments. That letter asked, among other things, for the level of training troops have received and the administration’s legal justification for the deployment.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment Friday. In a statement, the Pentagon said only that it received the Democrats’ letter in September and is “considering the request.”

But Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, defended Trump’s deployment of troops, saying it aligns with his campaign promises of securing the border.

“It’s refreshing to finally have a President who keeps his promises,” Gosar said in a statement Friday. “The number one priority should be securing our own country before trying to secure others.”

Calls to the Arizona National Guard and Gov. Doug Ducey’s office were not returned. But Ducey, who as governor had to order the troops to the border, was an early and vocal supporter of the move.

The Pentagon confirmed Friday that there were about 2,900 active-duty service members and another 2,200 National Guard troops along the southern border as of this week. Under rules of their deployment, the troops can perform support roles – stringing razor wire, providing transportation, participating in surveillance and other jobs – but are not supposed to engage migrants.

Trump first called for deployment of National Guard troops in April 2018. He said they would help the Department of Homeland Security tackle “illegal drugs, dangerous gang activity and extensive illegal immigration.” He followed that last November with the deployment of active-duty troops.

California and New Mexico balked, but Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Ducey quickly agreed to the deployment, which is federally funded. Ducey sent the first wave of 225 Arizona National Guard soldiers in April 2018, saying then that it was important to secure the southern border and do “what Washington has failed to do for too long.”

But residents of the border communities who spoke at Friday’s event on Capitol Hill told a different story, saying how the arrival of troops has affected their cities and their lives.

“I remember the unrelenting pain and fear that we felt that day of our country’s history,” said Mariam Iskajyan, program manager at the group Win Without War. “It was a dark day.”

Lawmakers at the event pointed repeatedly to a recent Southern Poverty Law Center report on leaked emails from Stephen Miller, an architect of the White House’s immigration policies, that claim to show Miller’s support for white nationalist theories. A White House official was quoted in published reports as calling the SPLC a “far-left smear organization.”

“You have that racist Stephen Miller in the White House, he has the ear of the president, then the president spews the racism that comes from Miller,” said Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif.

The Democrats say the military presence on the border is harming the communities, where there may be more soldiers than local police and where residents can face multiple checkpoints. That leads to a lack of business investment and it lowers morale in border communities across Arizona and other states, Grijalva said.

“You have now created a myth and a stereotype across this nation that somehow these communities on the border … are crime-infested, violent and dangerous places when they’re not,” Grijalva said after the event.

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  1. If only Grijalva cared as much about his constituents as he does about people in other countries………

  2. Then if there is no wall currently in whatever specific location(s) you’re talking about, let them build one and the Troops can leave.

    Go home (back to Mexico) Raul!

  3. to bad fat f… grijalva doesn’t actually do something for his district
    still looks like 3rd world country from airport to UA

    maybe if he had to live in squaller called his district he would actually WORK FOR LIVING

  4. Well if all this BS is true where has the outcry from the people on the border? Most I have heard is good things because of the lessening of trouble with the ILLEGALS due to the military assistance.

    The only ones crying are the illegal supporters because all the cuzins and uncles cant get across. When greedyhalfa opens his yap its either to enhance the illegal problem or he is going to get a big KICKBACK from someone.

    “A White House official was quoted in published reports as calling the SPLC a “far-left smear organization.” and that is just what it is but now that someone has dared to SAY IT OPENLY the left is going crazy. Just like the aclu the splc does more damage than good, except the good is for their OWN benefit. Who do you think gets the $$ when these shysters take the peole of thee USA to court? Ill tell ya its not the ones they supposedly represent, plus they get paid win or lose so thats their bottom line.

    “That leads to a lack of business investment and it lowers morale in border communities across Arizona and other states, Grijalva said.” How would he know since he is the one who initially caused a breakdown with ‘investments’ when he pushed a boycott of the state. A low moral is due to him just opening his yap and really is he even sober when he does, that is what should be investigated and reported to the people in this area.

  5. “A White House official was quoted in published reports as calling the SPLC a “far-left smear organization.”

    SPLC IS a far left smear organization.

  6. Hey Grijalva – if you haven’t noticed the Cartels are killing our kids, destroying American families, causing strife to the nation with all the drugs being brought into this nation by the for their profit. The military should be using drones to target and kills these cartel leaders, to interdict and terminate smugglers – nothing less that an active drug WAR will quell this problem. Your either part of the solution or part of the problem – which are you Gordo

    • I agree that the drug cartels need to be stopped, but it’s much bigger than a few border-crossers with packs on their backs, and that’s why The Wall is an expensive diversion. Most drugs come in via vehicles and ships, and that’s where the money should be going, for more checkers and checkpoints, along with tackling America’s addiction problems — which means taking on Big Pharma. Then there is the inseparable issue of aiding and abetting the drug cartels:

      Mr. tRump’s favorite bank is Deutsche Bank, which has loaned him and his businesses $2 billion over two decades, the latest — during his presidency in 2017 — being $130 million. Despite hundreds of millions in defaults. Deutsche Bank has been subpoenaed by the House investigating “suspicious transactions” with companies controlled by the president and his son-in-law and White House confidant Jared Kushner. tRump has sued to prevent Deusche Bank from testifying and producing records. Why?

      Deutsche Bank is known as “the global laundromat” laundering money for Russia and for Latin American drug cartels. They have paid billions of dollars in fines for their behavior and one senior official committed suicide a few years ago. They are being prosecuted in Australia as a “criminal cartel.”. The way drug money laundering works is the bank gets it in cash, usually well-wrapped and deodorized to get any lingering cocaine smell out. They then lend it for hard-to-track projects like real estate development, resorts and casinos — the core of tRump’s businesses. Don’t take my word for it; check it out for yourselves: Fox Business News, Financial Times, BBC, The Guardian (London), Reuters, New York Times, 100 Reporters, Drug Enforcement Administration, Business News…and plenty more.

      So, yes, BillyB, you are either part of the solution or part of the problem. Which are you? And the rest of you — which side are you on?

      • The side of Christ – and the EU with Russia and Iranian cartel will destroy the US in one hours time, that being the destruction of Mystery Babblyon *(Read Revelations 18 for that description – it’s how, why, who – the results with a warning included – keep reading the description of Mystery Babblyon for it is us is it not? you read it. As for the Harlot… who could it be? While we are not ‘there yet’ we are just down the street) So Al – I know which troop I belong to – yest its complex but not so much so… we are watching this take over to bring the mark of the beast to possibility right now – can’t fly without real ID? What else is just over the horizion – Buckle up Al here it comes. I’m just sitting here an observer of this occurrence.

        • “My country, right or wrong. When right, to keep it right; when wrong, to set it right.” — US Senator Carl Schurz

  7. Grijalva – you are a waste to the state and the district – taxation without representation – pure “D” partisan.

  8. Has there ever been an investigation into the finances of the Grijalva Cartel? How much of Grijalva Realty revenue is cash?

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