Jim Kouri
Obama: Mexican border dog and pony show redux
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By Jim Kouri
June 3, 2010

President Barack Obama recently told reporters in Washington that there is an agreement to send hundreds of additional National Guard soldiers to the southwestern U.S. border as one part of a comprehensive approach needed for immigration reform.

Obama spoke briefly to reporters about his decision announced earlier this week to authorize as many as 1,200 Guard members to the border during a White House news conference that had focused on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Asked by a reporter about the Guard-deployment plan in light of a new Arizona law to crack down on illegal immigration, Obama said the plan was shaped last year.

"So this is not simply in response to the Arizona law, the president said."

The plan became public earlier this week after Obama met with Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has requested more federal resources along the border.

However, many of the Senators claim they were blind-sided by Obama's announcement since they claim he never mentioned his National Guard deployment plan.

Obama called immigration "inherently the job of the federal government," and said sending Guardsmen would be a basic step in securing the border before other reforms are implemented through legislation.

National Guard troops can help with intelligence work, drug and human trafficking interdiction, and relieving border guards on security tasks so they can do more law enforcement, the president said. "So there are a lot of functions that they can carry out that helps leverage and increase the resources available in this area," he said.

In 2006, about 6,000 National Guard members participated in Operation Jump Start in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. In accordance with federal law, Guardsmen do not serve in direct law enforcement roles, but provide reinforcement to the U.S. Border Patrol. Their missions included engineering, aviation, entry identification teams and a wide range of technical, logistical and administrative support.

In a story that should have rang alarm bells in very newsroom across the nation in 2007, armed Mexicans entered the United States and attacked unarmed National Guard troops working at a border patrol post near the US-Mexican border. The troops had to retreat to safety.

It's a story that should have outraged all Americans including then-President George W. Bush.

Unfortunately, President Bush and his Administration did not even comment on this vicious attack on unarmed US troops as well as the unbridled assault on American sovereignty. During a press conference held by then-Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, there was not one word about this unprovoked attack on soldiers.

The US Border Patrol conducted an investigation into the attack. Investigators are attempting to determine who the armed men were, what they were doing and why they approached the post before returning to Mexico.

A Border Patrol agent, who requested anonymity, says that the well-armed intruders were drug traffickers who are fully aware US National Guard troops are prohibited from carrying any type of weapon and have been ordered not to confront lawbreakers coming across the border. The Guard troops are not allowed to apprehend illegal entrants, as well.

"Basically, the National Guard troops are doing what private groups such as the Minuteman Project have done at US borders — observe and report," said a Homeland Security Department official.

What he failed to mention is that the Minutemen didn't cost taxpayers millions of dollars to just stand at the border unarmed and act as the eyes and ears of the already stretched-thin Border Patrol agents.

Since arriving in mid-June, 2006, the Guard has assisted the Border Patrol by manning control rooms, doing vehicle and helicopter maintenance, repairing roads and fences, constructing vehicle barriers and fences and spotting and reporting illegal entrants in entrance identification teams.

There are dozens of National Guard entrance identification teams along the Mexican border, including east and west of both Nogales and Sasabe and on the Tohono O'odham Nation. All of the teams are unarmed.

"This [was] one of the most expensive dog-and-pony shows dreamed up by the Washington establishment in recent history. Imagine using trained troops on the US border unarmed and prohibited from taking action. It's a scam," says Mike Baker, a political analyst.

"And it looks as if we're going to follow the Bush dog-and-pony show at the border with an Obama dog-and-pony. 1,200 troops means perhaps one Guardsman every 7 miles if you don't give them weekends, holidays, sick days and vacation days off," Baker added.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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