GOP Sen. [crscore]John McCain[/crscore] said Tuesday the situation on the U.S.-Mexico border is so dire the military needs to be deployed to patrol the region as soon as possible.
In a letter sent to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson, McCain asked Johnson why he hasn’t requested help from the Department of Defense to combat drug traffickers piercing Arizona’s border. DHS has been unable to prevent the flow of heroin and other narcotics flooding in from Mexico.
McCain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, noted that while the Army is conducting drone training missions, the service is not coordinating its efforts with the DHS, even though the DOD is definitely authorized to support counternarcotics activities.
“For DOD to provide this support, a request must be made by the official who has responsibility for the counter-drug activities of the federal government department,” McCain said in his letter, adding, “I strongly urge that you make this request for support to the DOD immediately and begin coordinating with Ft. Huachuca to take advantage of these available air assets as quickly as possible.”
Support, McCain added, is not limited to aerial reconnaissance, though the Posse Comitatus Act does not permit the use of federal military personnel to “execute the laws.” For now, it appears McCain is calling for the military to be deployed in a support or advisory role, which seems to evade the prohibitions in the legislation.
The 2-13th Aviation Regiment is stationed at Ft. Huachuca and features four different drone types.
The situation is dire enough that the National Border Patrol Council has officially endorsed GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump because of his hardline stance against illegal immigration.
Brandon Judd, president of the Border Patrol Council, said that no other issue presents a greater threat to America than a porous border.
But whether DHS actually follows through with requesting help is an open question, as the Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently said, “the border is more secure now than it has been in many, many years.”
Mayorkas also said he won’t allow any heated rhetoric from the campaign trail to change DHS policies.
“We are guided by fact and threat intelligence,” said Mayorkas. “We are a welcoming, embracing nation that does not operate in isolation.”
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