04.01.11

King, Miller, Other Homeland Security Committee Republicans Request Extension of National Guard Deployment on Southwest Border

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Washington, D.C. (Friday, April 1, 2011) – Today, ­U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, and eight other Committee Republicans called on President Obama to extend the current deployment of 1,200 National Guard soldiers along the Southwest border as the Department of Homeland Security continues to recruit and train additional Customs and Border Protection Officers and Border Patrol Agents.  The current deployment began September 1, 2010 and is set to end on June 30.

In addition, King and Miller requested that, because border security is a federal responsibility, the burden be shared by other states in addition to the four Southwest border states.

The signed letter is available HERE.  The text of the letter sent to President Obama follows:

April 1, 2011

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
 

Dear President Obama:

 
We write today to seek your support to ensure that ongoing efforts to secure our Southwest border are not reversed by increasing violence from Mexican Drug Cartels operating along the border.  As you know, since September 1, 2010, the National Guard has been augmenting Southwest border security efforts in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.  We applaud the Administration’s decision to send these additional National Guard troops to the Southwest border, which were sent to serve as a bridge to longer-term enhancements in border protection. 

As you are well aware, the National Guard is serving as a valuable force multiplier during the current Southwest border mission, known as Operation Phalanx.  The National Guard has proven to be well equipped to provide the necessary support to civil law enforcement personnel, and has expertise in a variety of border security skill sets such as ground surveillance, criminal investigative analysis, and command and control capabilities that are extremely valuable in our efforts to secure the border.  According to the Department of Homeland Security, National Guard soldiers have assisted civilian law enforcement in seizing over 14,000 pounds of drugs and apprehending 7,000 illegal immigrants.    However, we remain concerned that these 1,200 Guardsmen and women will stand down before a sufficient number of  Border Patrol agents have been hired and trained to replace these soldiers. We believe that this would put at risk the valuable gains that have been made in many areas along the border at a time of increasing violence which threatens to spillover to our nation’s border communities.

To that end, we respectfully request your assistance in extending the current National Guard deployment beyond the 30 June stand down date as the Department of Homeland Security continues to recruit and train additional Customs and Border Protection Officers and Border Patrol Agents that were funded in the Fiscal Year 2010 Border Supplemental Bill.  To date, CBP and the Border Patrol are still very far from meeting their desired personnel levels and any gains that have been made in securing the border remain fragile.  Thus, we request the National Guard remain on the Southwest border until the Department of Homeland Security can fully take control of the mission and hire and train sufficient personnel to replace the 1,200 National Guard troops who have served honorably in this mission.

In addition, we believe it is neither fair nor equitable for the entire burden of providing personnel to fall to the four Southwest border states alone.  Border security is a federal responsibility and the burden should be shared by other states, as necessary to sustain the mission.  To that end, we request that in the future, the National Guard not be limited in their role to assist civilian law enforcement and be able to function to the full extent allowed under Title 32, Section 502 (f) duty status.  Securing our borders must remain a priority for our nation, and we seek your support in your continuing efforts to that end.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Candice S. Miller                                                        Peter T. King
Member of Congress                                                 Member of Congress

Billy Long                                                                   Paul C. Broun
Member of Congress                                                 Member of Congress

Lamar Smith                                                              Mike Rogers
Member of Congress                                                 Member of Congress

Tom Marino                                                               Daniel E. Lungren
Member of Congress                                                 Member of Congress

Jeff Duncan                                                               Michael T. McCaul
Member of Congress                                                 Member of Congress

CC:  The Honorable Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
CC:  The Honorable Robert Gates, Secretary, Department of Defense

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