House Democrats want the U.S. military to disclose troop deployment and housing locations at the southern border, essentially providing a roadmap to human smugglers, drug cartels and violent Antifa hooligans.
As migrants from countries with terrorist ties transit north through Mexico, Democrats embedded a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act requiring the Secretary of Defense to notify the House and Senate Armed Services committees of “deployment of any member of the Armed Forces or unit of the Armed Forces to the southern land border of the United States in support” of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The measure, which requires 30-day advance notification, even orders the Defense Department to furnish maps.
Titled “Modification and technical correction of authority for deployment of members of the Armed Forces to the southern land border of the United States,” Section 1044 of the defense bill is congressional micromanagement at its worst.
Andrew Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies, and a former Capitol Hill staffer, notes several downsides to Section 1044. “What legitimate purpose is served by providing Congress with maps ‘indicating the location where units are so deployed’? To allow members to second-guess that troops should be set up at mile marker 175 instead of mile marker 282?” he muses.
That’s just for openers, of course. “Inevitably, the information will become public knowledge and will be used to direct smuggling operations,” Arthur asserts.
“And beyond that, imagine what would happen if it became public that a hotel in Yuma houses troops who are supporting CBP. How many sanctimonious trolls would call for a boycott because that hotel is supporting the detention of ‘asylum seekers.’ Even worse, can you imagine what Antifa would do with this information?”
To make sure the word gets out, Section 1044 mandates that “each report … shall be submitted in unclassified form and without any designation relating to dissemination control.”
(In September, Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to maintain up to 5,500 troops at unspecified locations along the southern border until Sept. 30, 2020. Military units have been deployed for border duty since October 2018.)
Though the Senate’s defense bill contains no disclosure dictates, there are no guarantees that the House language won’t prevail. All but eight of 235 Democrats voted for the House version, with seven others not voting.
Among those with a stake in the outcome are terrorist and human-trafficking networks always probing for points of least resistance. Migrants from Africa and Bangladesh – Islamic terror hubs whose nationals make up a rising percentage of migrants moving through Mexico – are surely watching with interest.