Congress joins debate over sending TSA employees to border

TSA File

Passengers make their way to a security checkpoint inside Terminal A at George Bush Intercontinental Airport Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Houston. The partial government shutdown is starting to strain the national aviation system, with unpaid security screeners staying home, air-traffic controllers suing the government and safety inspectors off the job. The long lines signaled […]

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers are clashing over the Trump administration’s move to send hundreds of Transportation Security Administration employees to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The TSA is asking federal air marshals, airport screeners and others to volunteer to support a buildup of federal agents along the border who are dealing with waves of migrants.

Rep. Debbie Lesko, an Arizona Republican, says that tapping TSA workers shows there’s a crisis on the border.

But the Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said the administration is using TSA to manufacture a crisis.

Travel industry groups have expressed concern that the shift could leave airports understaffed during the peak summer season.

TSA says it can handle the job and will move fewer than 1% of its 60,000 employees to the border.

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