The Trump administration is exploring ways to pay for the border wall along the Mexico-US border. Because Mexico will not pay for it, and the initial plan to pay with tariffs that would fall on U.S. citizens was widely criticized, the administration is exploring cutting government services, in particular those relating to other border security.
These proposed cuts include budgets for the Coast Guard, airport security, and emergency response funds, all of which could diminish border readiness and national security. Critics were quick to point out the incongruity of the proposal.
According to the Washington Post, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) created the budget cutting proposal.
It would remove $1.3 billion of the Coast Guard's $9.1 billion budget, more than $500 million from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and over $370 million of the budget for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The Department of Homeland Security would still see an increase in its budget to allow for more border patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and to fund more detention and deportation of immigrants.
The TSA funding cuts would hamper terror prevention efforts by cutting funding for federal and local officers at airports and train stations. It would also reduce funding used to train local law enforcement on how to use cybercrime tools.
Michael Short, a White House spokesman, tried to deflect criticism of the proposal yesterday saying that “trying to draw conclusions this early would be extremely premature.”
National security experts are worried that the plan is ignoring the larger picture of how border protection needs to shift as changes are made. Stephen Flynn, a retired Coast Guard commander and director of the Global Resilience Institute told Politico, "As you harden the land border you open up the maritime border. It makes no sense. You are going to have this balloon effect."