Oversight Committee Warns Against Trump Administration’s Plans to Divert TSA Employees to Southern Border

May 20, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (May 20, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, sent a letter to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) warning about the potential dangers of alarming new reports that the Trump Administration is planning to divert hundreds of TSA employees to the southern border just as airline travel begins to increase for the summer.


“We are deeply concerned that pulling hundreds of TSA employees away from their critical missions at our nation’s airports and sending them to the southern border will weaken aviation security and significantly increase the risks faced by the American people,” the Chairmen wrote.  “An obvious and enormous problem with this plan is that TSA employees already have full-time jobs, and the agency needs them to fulfill their critical mission at our nation’s airports, as well as to address vulnerabilities identified by the Government Accountability Office and the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security.”


On May 15, 2019, CNN reported that the Trump Administration plans to send TSA employees “to help with efforts to deal with migrant inflows on the southern border just as the busy summer travel season begins.”  Citing an internal email and multiple sources, this report stated that “TSA plans for the deployments to involve up to 175 law enforcement officials and as many as ‘400 people from Security Ops.’”  The article cited an email from one senior TSA official, who warned:  “We also understand we are accepting some risk as we enter a very busy summer.”


For the past year, the Oversight Committee has been examining airport security, and the results of this review have been troubling.  For example, last month, in response to a bipartisan request from the Committee, the Government Accountability Office issued a newly declassified report warning that TSA has failed to address existing security vulnerabilities at our nation’s airports.  


“Based on our work, we have grave concerns about the wisdom of any proposal to pull hundreds of TSA employees away from their critical security mission at our nation’s airports to fulfill the President’s immigration policies,” Cummings and Lynch wrote.


Click here to read today’s letter to TSA.  



116th Congress