Monday, August 30, 2010

National Guard Troops Arriving at U.S.-Mexican Border

NOGALES, AZ - JUNE 02: A U.S. Border Patrol agent drives along a fence which separates the cities of Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora Mexico, a frequent crossing point for people entering the United States illegally, June 2, 2010 in Nogales, Arizona. During the 2009 fiscal year 540,865 undocumented immigrants were apprehended entering the United States illegally along the Mexican border, 241,000 of those were captured in the 262 mile stretch of the border known as the Tucson Sector. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Content © 2010 Getty Images All rights reserved.

Austin Brigden
ROA Intern

The White House is beginning to execute its plan to deploy 532 National Guard troops along the U.S.-Mexican border. Their purpose during a yearlong deployment will be to monitor for illegal border crossers and smugglers and assist in criminal investigations. According to Gen. Craig McKinley, the troops will be armed and authorized to defend themselves. However, as U.S. National Guard Bureau Director of Communications Jack Harrison explained, they “will not be doing direct law enforcement.” The troops will instead be assisting border patrol agents and local law enforcement by providing intelligence and intelligence analysis, surveillance and reconnaissance support, and the ability to train additional Customs and Border Protection agents. McKinley has also noted that no overseas deployments are affected by the border duty.

According to the troops will be distributed among the four border states – Arizona, Texas, California, and New Mexico. Other troops will be assigned to a national liaison office. Additionally, Alan Bersin, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection revealed that the Homeland Security Department will provide six more aircraft, including helicopters, to assist in the border effort.  He also noted that at least 300 Customs and Border Protection agents and inspection officers would be sent to the Tucson, Arizona, area, along with mobile surveillance vans and additional technology.

Despite these numbers, there have been criticisms regarding the size and urgency of the deployment. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Arizona. Sens. McCain and Kyl of that state have requested $700 million in enhanced security measures, including 1,200 Border Patrol agents and 500 Customs and Border Protection officers. Additionally, U.S. Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick and Gabrielle Giffords, both Arizona Democrats, separately called the announced actions welcome but insufficient and this sentiment has been echoed by the governors of Arizona and Texas.
The last major deployment of National Guard troops to the border occurred in 2006 under the name Operation Jump Start. At its height the border force numbered 6,000, but the majority of these troops' deployments ended in 2008. Sen. McCain has been quite vocal about his desire to get border troops up to the 6,000 mark again.
As it stands, this is already a major operation for the National Guard, but we shall see if the Obama administration yields to Arizona's pressure and commits more troops and equipment to the cause.

National Guard to arrive at Arizona-Mexico border (USA Today)
National Guard to head to border states Aug. 1 (AP)
1,200 National Guard Troops Being Deployed to Border Will Not Be Used to Stop and Detain Illegal Aliens (CNS News)
National Guard Troops Begin Deployment Along Southwest Border (ABC News)
Guardsmen to Deploy to Southern Border (


Bob said...

It would be in the best interest of all, if the Federal Government were to reimburse the states to mobilize the National Guard in a Title 32 status, rather than mobilizing them in a Title 10 status. The current arrangement puts the Guardsmen in a potentially risky legal postion. Another instance in nobody in the Administration knowing anything about the Reserve Component. Either that, or they just don't care. Under the current border circumstances, the POTUS should declare a state of emergency and just use Active Component forces. We are under invasion by Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Negative Bob,
Title 10 is the way to go, Title 32 shorts the troops on benefits. As far as legal, there is enough presidence to make it work. They are still Guard, and Fed troops at home bad president to set, although we are close to a shooting war on the border, and if we go further, then troops should take on direct enforcement role.
Good discussion.