Gov. Scott Walker says he welcomes “President Donald Trump’s aggressive actions to secure our nation’s southern border” and stands ready to commit Wisconsin National Guard troops to the effort.
Walker also wrote in a letter Monday to U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, that he also favors placing training facilities along the southern border, calling it a cost-effective way to increase the U.S. military presence there.
“Let me be clear: the southern border of the United States of America is not secure,” Walker wrote. “One of the most fundamental responsibilities of our federal government is to protect our borders and shores. Sadly, through several administrations, the federal government has failed in this fundamental responsibility.”
Monday’s letter was in response to Pocan last week urging Walker to oppose sending troops to the border, writing they should only be asked to leave their jobs and families for “truly serious and necessary circumstances” and should not be used as “pawns” by President Trump.
Walker pointed out several other times National Guard troops have been used along the border in the war on drugs: 1989, under President George H.W. Bush; 2006 under President George W. Bush; and 2010 under President Barack Obama.
“As Governor, I want to ensure the safety of all of our citizens, and I want to reduce access to illegal drugs as part of a comprehensive strategy in dealing with opioid and illegal drug
Addiction,” Walker wrote. “Therefore, I welcome President Donald Trump’s aggressive actions to secure our nation’s southern border.”
Pocan responded by accusing Walker of committing to send troops purely for political gain.
In a statement, Pocan argued Trump’s proposed actions are meant to apprehend migrants, including children, rather than address the flow of drugs from Mexico. Pocan said Trump is using “desperate, last ditch efforts” to rally political support given the president has not yet succeeded in finding funding for a border wall.
“Arrests at the southern border of the U.S. are at a historic low,” Pocan said. “However, both you and President Trump are refusing to accept the facts and are instead twisting the narrative for political purposes to rally the Republican base.”