|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
THURSDAY, MAY 21, 1998
Washington, D.C. – The House tonight, by a more than two to one margin, approved an amendment authored by U. S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH) to authorize the deployment of U.S. troops to assist law enforcement in patrolling U.S. borders. "Our current program to stop drugs from coming into America is a failure," asserted Traficant. "If we can't intercept the tons of heroin and cocaine coming into this country, we have no anti-drug program. We need to have more options to stem the tide. The judicious use of U.S. troops to patrol the border is one option we can no longer ignore."
Adoption of the amendment came during House consideration of legislation authorizing $270.4 billion in fiscal year 1999 for defense programs. The Traficant amendment, which was adopted on a vote of 288 to 132, authorizes the Department of Defense to assign U.S. troops to assist federal law enforcement in monitoring and patrolling U.S. borders, and in inspecting cargo, vehicles and aircraft at points of entry into the U.S. Under the amendment, such assistance could be provided only at the express request of the U.S. Attorney General or the Secretary of the Treasury.
The Traficant amendment mandates that any troops deployed to U.S. borders receive special law enforcement training. In addition, the amendment requires any U.S. troops patrolling U.S. borders to be accompanied by federal law enforcement agents. The troops would not have the authority to make any arrests. Finally, the amendment requires the federal government to notify the appropriate state and local government officials of any deployment of U.S. troops.
Last year, the House approved a similar Traficant-sponsored amendment to the defense bill. That amendment, however, was dropped from the bill in conference with the Senate. Traficant said tonight that he will work hard to keep his amendment in the final version of this year's bill.2009