President Donald Trump is still hellbent on getting that hideously expensive border wall up and running. How will he do it? By possibly making cuts to funding for the Coast Guard, FEMA, the TSA and other federal agencies who focus on national security.
The Washington Post reports that a draft plan proposes a 14 percent cut to the Coast Guard’s budget in 2017, as well as an 11 percent cut for both FEMA and the TSA. What’s curious about these cuts is that according to the draft plan obtained by the Post, the Department of Homeland Security will actually increase their budget by 6.4 percent.
“The Budget prioritizes DHS law enforcement operations, proposes critical investments in front line border security and funds continued development of robust cybersecurity defenses,” the plan read. Great. Here’s where Trump plans to spend some of that proposed money.
Some $2.9 billion of that would go to building the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, with $1.9 billion funding “immigration detention beds” and other Immigration and Customs Enforcement expenses and $285 million set aside to hire 500 more Border Patrol agents and 1,000 more ICE agents and support staffers.
National security is a large concern for Trump’s administration, if the extremely misguided and harmful travel ban is any indication. But the cuts to the TSA would effectively eliminate programs that purport to prevent terrorist attacks from happening. The draft plan would also eliminate the Maritime Security Response Teams from the Coast Guard, who are responsible for counterterrorism sweeps of ports and waterways. As for FEMA, the draft plan’s proposed cuts don’t really do anything detrimental to national security; the potential harm here is towards communities affected by large-scale national disasters, effectively curtailing the “the federal commitment to helping states and local governments prepare for natural disasters through training, salaries and benefits for staff, coordination and state-of the-art equipment.”
All this potential damage so a xenophobic administration can build a wall at our southern border and empower ICE agents to detain with relative impunity, creating an atmosphere of fear, turmoil and unrest? That sounds like quite the shit sandwich.