GOP bill looks to stop DHS from grounding air marshals at southern border

FIRST ON FOX: Republicans are introducing legislation to prevent the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from deploying federal air marshals to the southern border to help with the ongoing crisis at the southern border.Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, has introduced the No FAMS At The Border Act. The bill, which was introduced with Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, would block federal air marshals from being deployed to the southern and northern borders unless the Biden administration certifies to Congress that there is a crisis at the border.It is companion legislation to a bill introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has previously grilled officials on the deployment of marshals to the border.CRUZ DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM TSA OVER ‘CONCERNING’ DEPLOYMENT OF AIR MARSHALS TO SOUTHERN BORDERAir marshals have been deployed to the border on multiple occasions, including in 2019 and in 2021. Marshals in 2021 were initially sought to go to the border on a voluntary basis, but it later changed to mandatory deployments. The move was controversial, sparking what was described as a “mutiny” from marshals.At the time, it was reported that deployments would leave just 1-in-100 flights with agents on board, one-eighth of its normal coverage.During the peak of the crisis, a number of law enforcement agencies were deployed to the border, sparking criticism about the usefulness of the deployments, where often highly trained employees were processing and conducting welfare checks.DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the legislation, but officials have noted that marshals were deployed to the border during the Trump administration, and have also been deployed to support the U.N. General Assembly and hurricane recovery, among other missions. Officials have said that any such deployment, which is on a reimbursable basis, is temporary and that air marshals will continue to support the agency’s critical mission on the ground and onboard aircraft.AIR MARSHALS FACING MANDATORY BORDER DEPLOYMENT PLAN ‘MUTINY’ ON BIDEN ADMIN LEAVING FLIGHTS UNGUARDED: REPORTHinson, in a statement, called the deployments to the border “unjustifiable” and said they left a “concerning void in our aviation security.””Our bill will prevent Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas from dodging accountability, perpetuating the border crisis, and making Americans less safe not only in their daily lives but on flights, too,” she said.Pfluger called the deployments a “concerning trend” and that it jeopardizes flight security, urging the administration to “enforce the laws already on the books to end the crisis at the border instead of diverting essential security officials away from their crucial roles.”The bill also has the support of the Air Marshal National Council (AMNC).”On behalf of Federal Air Marshals nationwide, the Air Marshal National Council strongly supports Rep. Hinson’s legislation to prohibit the ongoing deployment of Air Marshals to our border,” David Londo, president of the AMNC, said in a statement. “It is time to put the American people we’re proud to protect and serve first, and get Air Marshals back in the air, especially during this time of increased threats to our homeland.” The bill comes at a time when Republicans are feuding with the administration over how to handle the ongoing crisis. Republicans have said that the Biden administration needs to change its policies and can fix the crisis.The administration, however, says it needs more funding from Congress and comprehensive immigration reform, as it is working within a “broken” immigration system.President Biden recently renewed his calls for Congress to pass a bipartisan Senate deal to increase resources and staffing on the border. However, it has been rejected by conservatives who say it does not go far enough in lowering releases into the interior.The House passed a sweeping Republican signature border bill last year, but that has failed to win over the support of the administration, who has said the bill would make things worse, not better, and “trample on the Nation’s core values and international obligations.” 
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