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Thread: Cuellar questions border patrol shift to California as U.S. troops move into Texas

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    Cuellar questions border patrol shift to California as U.S. troops move into Texas

    Cuellar questions border patrol shift to California as U.S. troops move into Texas

    By Kevin Diaz
    Updated 12:34 pm CST, Thursday, November 15, 2018




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    U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-San Antonio, said he remains concerned that amid the build-up of federal troops in Texas, the reduction of CBP officers could hamper legitimate border traffic and commerce. ... more

    WASHINGTON While federal troops pour into Texas, border Congressman Henry Cuellar is raising the alarm over the deployment of 575 Texas U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers to California to meet a caravan of asylum seekers from Central America who have started arriving in the border city of Tijuana.

    The move comes after President Donald Trump deployed thousands of active-duty troops to Texas and other border states ahead of last week's midterm elections, a move that critics have derided as a political stunt.


    Cuellar said he was told that the CBP deployment will be a temporary response to a migrant caravan that appears to be headed toward ports of entry in San Diego. Amid growing deployments of federal troops in the Rio Grande Valley, Cuellar noted a week ago that the immigrant caravan was headed for California, not Texas.

    INCOMING: Maps, charts show how drugs make their way across the border into Texas, US

    Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat who has been critical of Trump's proposed border wall, renewed his concerns with CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan on Wednesday, the same day Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen met with federal troops in South Texas.


    "I made the Commissioner aware of my concerns regarding the potential impacts to Texas land ports," Cuellar said in a statement. "Commissioner McAleenan has assured me that CBP will do everything possible to minimize the impacts to trade, retail, tourism, and Paisano seasonal traffic at all Texas port of entries."


    Altogether, the Pentagon has said that approximately 5,900 troops have been deployed to the U.S. border with Mexico, and that significant increases are not expected. Trump announced before the midterms that he would deploy as many as 10,000 to 15,000 troops, a decision that critics denounced as a ploy to energize his conservative base in Texas and other states.

    Joining the critics was U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, who called the troop deployments a "stunt" on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Wednesday. Flake, who is retiring from the Senate, noted that many of the troops are not actually deployed at the border, but 90 miles away.


    "So I think you can't call it anything but a stunt here," Flake said. "And it's unfortunate that they're going to be away from family during the holidays coming up, and we just don't know what really for."


    Mattis, in remarks to the troops at Base Camp Donna on Wednesday, defended the deployment as "great training." He also told the soldiers to ignore news coverage of the operation or they would "go nuts."


    GOING TO COURT: Lawsuit seeks to block Trump from denying asylum to migrants crossing the border illegally


    Cuellar said he remains concerned that amid the build-up of federal troops in Texas, the reduction of CBP officers could hamper legitimate border traffic and commerce.


    "As a representative of the border, I understand the necessity behind sending additional personnel to California on a temporary basis, to make certain that CBP has the capacity to provide intending migrants with access to the asylum process in an orderly manner," Cuellar said. "However, we need to ensure that this movement does not adversely impact our economy and security. In Texas, especially during the holidays, we see a high influx of tourism and flow of commerce that ultimately mobilizes our economy. Additionally, the State of Texas conducts over half of all trade between the U.S. and Mexico."

    https://www.chron.com/news/politics/...e-13394947.php
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