Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) introduced legislation on Tuesday aimed at reassigning 95 percent of the National Guardsmen who are at the U.S. Capitol and sending them to the southern border to help with the “humanitarian crisis” there.
Murphy’s Guard Our Border Act (pdf) comes as Capitol Police issued a statement recently saying there is no “known credible threat” to the U.S. Capitol. There is, however, a surge of illegal immigrants coming to the southern border, creating what Republicans and a few Democrats are calling a crisis.
In February 2021, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had 100,441 apprehensions of migrants at the southern border, a 173 percent increase compared to February 2020.
“Our National Guard was formed to respond to states of national crisis in this country. The Capitol Police have acknowledged that there is presently no credible threat to our nation’s Capitol Building. Yet, because of this administration’s new policies, there is a national security and public health threat at our southern border,” said Murphy in a press statement.
Murphy’s bill states that the purpose of sending the guardsmen and women to the southern border is for, “Securing the southern land border of the United States, and management and care for migrants at such border.”
The National Guard was called to Washington D.C. after the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol building. More than 20,000 were reportedly on hand during the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden.
The top Democrat and top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee both recently said they want to see National Guard troops who were deployed at the Capitol return home in the near future as deployment costs have increased to more than $500 million so far.
National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Carver, in a statement, said the Guard estimates that keeping the troops there will cost half a billion dollars.
“After a review, we have revised our original January-to-March cost estimate of $482.8 million to $410 million due to under-execution,” Carver told Fox News. “The new, projected cost estimate for the entire mission is $521 million.”
The Pentagon extended the deployment through May 23, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced this week, after a request for continued support from the U.S. Capitol Police.
Nearly 2,300 troops will remain in Washington for the next several months, a reduction of nearly 50 percent of the current support force.
Meanwhile, Republicans have been critical of the Biden Administration’s immigration policies and the impact they say are being created by suddenly reversing many Trump-era policies.
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) joined the chorus of his colleagues to rebuke both the lack of security at the U.S.-Mexico border and the underutilized National Guard troops at the U.S. Capitol.
“The crisis at the southern border was predictable and preventable. When you cancel construction of the border wall, stop deporting those who enter our country illegally, and announce sweeping plans for amnesty, the result is what we are now witnessing,” wrote Buchanan on a Twitter post on Monday.
“More than 100,000 migrants in the last month alone. Contrast the lax protection of our border with the heightened security at the U.S. Capitol, where 8-foot-high fences topped with razor wire and thousands of National Guard troops protect Congress,” he added.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.