House panel to probe Trump’s troop deployment to U.S.-Mexico border

January 28, 2019 GMT

The House Armed Services Committee plans to “shine a light” on President Trump’s decision to send U.S. troops to the Mexican border in their first hearing in the new Congress this week.

Committee Chairman Adam Smith, Washington state Democrat, told NPR Monday morning that the committee is seeking “an explanation of the policy and make it clear there’s no legitimate purpose” of increasing military presence at the U.S. border with Mexico. Thousands of troops were deployed to the region to assist Border Patrol officials in combating illegal immigration.

Mr. Smith said it was “absolutely” a political move by the administration, coming shortly before last year’s midterm elections, arguing that the troops were sent despite a long-term decline in illegal immigration levels.

“Border security has gotten a ton better in the last 14 years, in part because we made a lot of policy decisions to do it,” Mr. Smith said. “But the president is manufacturing a crisis to pander to his base. He made [the promise to build a wall] because it played well to his crowd. Something that plays well to the crowd doesn’t translate into policy.”

The committee on Tuesday is expected to hear from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood, and Vice Admiral Michael Gilday.