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Reps. Lieu And Brown Call On AG Sessions To Withdraw Request For Military JAGs At The Border

June 22, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressmen Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Anthony Brown (D-MD), both former Judge Advocate Generals (JAGs), sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging him to withdraw his request for active duty JAGs to go to the border and prosecute immigration cases. In the midst of the ongoing family separation crisis, Reps. Lieu and Brown oppose this proposal because it is unwise, inefficient and hurts our national security.

In the letter, the Members write:

There are at least three reasons why you need to withdraw your proposal.

First, JAGs are not trained in immigration law. We are trained to prosecute and defend cases under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Directing attorneys who are unfamiliar with immigration laws to prosecute immigration cases on behalf of the government would be unfair to both the United States and the detainees.

Second, the JAG Corps is small and already stretched thin. The budget sequestration of the last few years has downsized our military. The recent increases in funding will take time to have an effect.

Third, and most importantly, our national security and troops will suffer. The main mission of JAGs is to advice military commanders in fighting our wars. From advising on what targets can be attacked under the law of war, to ensuring contracts in Afghanistan are done properly, to prosecuting sexual assault and other major crimes under the UCMJ to ensure good order and discipline, JAGs play an integral role in our war efforts. Another mission of JAGs is to provide legal assistance to our troops and their families when service members are deployed abroad. Taking JAGs away from their military mission to prosecute misdemeanor immigration cases is a big mistake.

Instead of creating new problems for our military, you should focus your efforts on undoing the manufactured crisis you have caused. Simply reverse the policy change you announced earlier this year. Do not take JAGs away from their critical military missions.