Former Arizona Gov. Brewer calls plan to send TSA workers to border ‘bizarre’
PHOENIX — Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer called the White House’s plan to send Transportation Security Administration employees to the U.S.-Mexico border to help with the surge in immigration “bizarre.”
The approximately 200 agents would reportedly be involved in services like legal affairs, meal preparation and wellness checks, according to NBC. The TSA employees would not have direct contact with immigrants.
“We don’t have facilities down there to even hold these people, and now we’re sending more people down there? Where are these people going to stay?” Brewer told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Wednesday.
Since Dec. 31, nearly 178,000 immigrants have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border and released into the country, with 30,600 of those people being released into Phoenix, according to the most recent numbers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“We need our Congress to get in gear and get this situation taken care of, because it is critical, it is absolutely critical, what’s going on down there now,” Brewer said.
The TSA said Wednesday it’s supporting the Homeland Security Department effort, and the shift will affect less than 1% of its 60,000 employees.
The agency says it’s minimizing the impact on travel, but an airline labor group is objecting.
The Association of Flight Attendants said diverting federal air marshals and other TSA workers to the border hurts airport security. The union says, “Aviation security should not be undermined for any reason.”
An agency official says about 100 TSA employees are already in the process of shifting to the border.
TSA says it is soliciting volunteers from its entire workforce, which includes about 45,000 airport screeners.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.