Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement about President Trump’s order regarding deployment of the military to the southern border:

“I strongly oppose the President's recent change in policy granting the military expanded authority regarding the use of lethal force, detention and search of civilians, and crowd control on our southern border. This guidance is unwise, unnecessary, and likely illegal. It is unwise because the President is creating a dangerous situation where thousands of armed troops are being asked to operate under vague and unclear rules of engagement. It is unnecessary because there is no evidence that the U.S. Border Patrol isn't capable of handling the situation on its own. The guidance is likely illegal because the military is prohibited from conducting law enforcement activities in the United States by the Posse Comitatus Act.

“This deployment has been a politically motivated stunt from its inception, and it is putting the U.S. military in an inappropriate position while undermining service members’ ability to train and perform their appropriate functions. At its core, this political stunt continues to be an exercise in fearmongering with the intention of inaccurately portraying asylum seekers as dangerous. Even more troubling, this decision appears to be driven by a group of anti-immigration fanatics in the White House who refuse to listen to legal and policy advice from experts while not even involving senior DOD and military leaders in the policy deliberations.

“I am extremely disappointed with the way that the administration has been stonewalling Congress. The public deserves transparency regarding the decision to initiate this deployment, and the justification for a change in the authority under which our  troops are operating. We need to know what the mission is, what exactly our troops are doing, how long the deployments will last, and how much it is going to cost.

“President Trump’s actions have potentially grave implications for the rule of law and it is essential that Congress get to the bottom of this misuse of our armed forces. For these reasons, the border deployment will be among the first oversight issues that the Armed Services Committee takes up in the new Congress.”