America has always been proud of its its defense forces. Countless men and women risk their lives daily to make sure people are protected. The brave service provided by the United States Coast Guard is no exception; they should all be honored as American heroes. However, that is not what the Trump administration is planning to do.

In March 2017, the Trump administration discussed cutting the Coast Guard’s budget by $750 million. Later in August 2018, the Senate approved a plan that would cut the Coast Guard’s budget by a whopping $1.3 billion. The plan also slashed Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) budgets by 11% each. The money from these cuts would be used to fund the border wall with Mexico. This is one of the most disastrous changes to come out of the Trump administration.

The Coast Guard is already one of the most underfunded branches of the military. Its ships and equipment have far passed their thirty-year life span and need immediate upgrades. Adding more budget cuts to the Coast Guard would only set them back even further. It is also nonsensical to jeopardize America’s public defense for a border wall, which the President has said Mexico would pay for.

The Trump administration has said that the Mexican border needs protection and security from cartels and undocumented immigrants. However, they fail to recognize the tireless efforts of the Coast Guard in protecting the coasts from these same cartels and stopping illegal immigration along the Gulf of Mexico. A budget cut of this size would severely impact their ability to do their job and would lead to a worse outcome. California Representative Duncan D. Hunter, a man who supported President Trump’s run for office, says, “If the president is serious about getting after the cartels and getting after drug networks, this makes no sense.”

Additionally, the Coast Guard is also interested in expanding into the Arctic for natural resources and oil. It is believed that 13% of all the world’s untapped oil reserves are located in the Arctic. The Arctic is considered by many to be the next hunting ground for oil, and the U.S needs to act fast. Russia and China already have a leg up on the exploration of the Arctic, having commissioned and tested ships for exploration. The U.S is in desperate need of new Arctic ships, and the time to take action is now.

If the U.S wants to be properly protected on its coast, then lawmakers need to stop this budget cut. If not, there are going to be disastrous consequences.