The Trump administration’s immigration enforcement fiasco took a brand new turn as lawmakers pushed back over a decision to transmit military lawyers to help you prosecute misdemeanor immigration cases.
Two House Democrats who served as judge advocates general are urging Attorney General Jeff Sessions to withdraw his obtain JAGs at the U.S.-Mexico border, and three senators, including one armed services Republican, are asking Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to reconsider his decision to adhere to the request.
Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Anthony Brown of Maryland wrote Sessions to debate that stretching a currently overtaxed JAG Corps would shortchange their primary pursuit to troops, military families and national security overall. They called the move “unwise, inefficient” and a detriment to national security.
“Instead of developing new difficulties for our military, you ought to target undoing the manufactured crisis you might have caused,” Lieu and Brown wrote. “Simply turn back policy change you announced earlier this year. Do not take JAGs away from their critical military missions.”
Both letters were sent Thursday, following an NBC report that 21 military lawyers are provided for border states to help you prosecute a backlog of immigration cases. They are reportedly answering the Justice Department’s urgent request and would receive preparatory training on immigration law while DoJ adds permanent federal prosecutors.
The news came amid a furor on the Trump administration’s intend to prosecute everyone caught illegally crossing the border. The president reversed course Wednesday by having an executive order to get rid of the insurance policy of separating children and parents who crossed the border together.
Since that order, which directed Mattis to “take all legally available measures to deliver to the DHS Secretary, upon request, any existing facilities readily available for the housing and proper alien families,” officials confirmed the Defense Department may house as much as 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children on military installations.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., have since written to Mattis to argue he would leave active duty posts empty, requiring calling reservists for the mission, in spite of the DoD’s own recent admission that JAG Corps caseloads are full.
They cited Mattis’s testimony a few months ago, when inquired on providing special victims’ counsels to guide survivors of domestic violence and child abuse, that expanding the duties from the JAG Corps without adding more personnel would risk “a significant lowering of the quality of services currently provided.”
“Clearly, the military needs more, not fewer, lawyers readily available for its critical military justice practice. Instead, we’ve learned the help is going to be diverting these valuable resources to support a non-military mission,” they wrote.
“Pulling twenty-one trial counsel from military courtrooms to prosecute immigration cases is an inappropriate misapplication of military personnel. We urge one to maintain these resources inside the military justice system.”
In both the letters, the lawmakers expressed concerns the litigators could be employed for a non-military mission they’re not trained for.
Though JAGs serve as special federal prosecutors in districts with military installations and so on cases which has a clear military connection, “these twenty-one JAGs are increasingly being forwarded to practice wholly outside their training, inside vast and sophisticated immigration arena,” the letter noted.