Our military and their families are paying for the wall, not Mexico

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By Kelsey Braford

At Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, outdated facilities and equipment slow down operations every day. Falling short of DoD requirements, it is not able to fully support the Nuclear Weapons Security Program and without new construction and improvements, it will continue to lack full operational capacity, according to Navy officials.

However, due to a sudden loss in funding for this construction, it will continue to operate with inadequate facilities and glaring inefficiencies.

In addition to facilities like these here in Washington, 127 schools, training sites, dining halls, hazardous waste warehouses, and other important and necessary facilities across the country that serve our military will be delayed due to the recent massive funding diversion by the Trump administration. Not only will bases in the U.S. be greatly impacted, but projects around the world will be affected, too.

Out of the $3.6 billion total the Trump administration diverted, nearly $89 million is being pulled from projects in Washington State.

This funding was diverted unconstitutionally. By declaring a state of emergency at the border, the President was able to circumvent Congress and finance the border wall without going through the proper channels.

Not only does such a move set a dangerous precedent, but Trump’s strong pro-military and anti-immigration stances appear to clash in his latest move.

While he claims to support our troops and military families, his latest actions seem to say otherwise. We know that the money being used to fund the wall is being taken directly from the budget for different projects intended to serve our very own military and their families. Trump can no longer pretend to stand for our military as his highest priority has been revealed – his campaign promise.

All 127 of the different projects were chosen by Congress to receive this funding. They were evaluated against other options and deemed more necessary than others for various reasons. However, the Trump administration found a way to move it without the authorization of Congress to fund what Trump personally deems to be the most urgent project.

Except, its not that urgent. The emergency he has declared at the border is a humanitarian crisis. However, the funding being diverted is not being used to provide humanitarian relief. Rather, it is being used to build a wall. If Trump were truly moved by the plight of asylum seekers, he would use the funding to expand resources for them and deploy aid rather than expand our capability to keep them out.

By diverting this crucial funding, Trump reveals a discrepancy in his policies and actions. While he depicts himself as a strong supporter of our military in reality he has stolen billions of dollars from projects that had already been awarded funding.

Rather than invest in our military families, Trump chose to defund these facilities that serve those who serve us. By taking money away from feasible and necessary projects and allocating it to an unnecessary and expensive vanity project he has demonstrated he cares more for his ego and campaign promise than our military.

Imagine – 127 entire projects could have been funded with $3.6 billion. An engineering center for the U.S. Military Academy. A flight simulator facility in Arizona. A fire and crash rescue station in Florida. Nine elementary, middle, and high schools across the U.S. and around the world. How many more projects must be delayed for him to be satisfied?

This will now fund about 300 miles of wall. A mere fraction of the near 2,000-mile border we share with Mexico that Trump promised his supporters would be completely fenced. In order to secure the kind of funding necessary to complete the wall, many more schools will need to be cancelled, much more hazardous waste will need to be stored dangerously, and many more selfless servicemen and women will need to suffer the consequences of billions of dollars of funding lost.

Mexico isn’t paying for it, our military and their families are.

Kelsey Braford is a second-year politics student at Pomona College and a Tacoma resident.

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