Governor Bill Richardson today announced that an additional 82 New Mexico
National Guard soldiers have completed training and are fully operational on the New Mexico-Mexico border. The 82 Soldiers are part of President Obama's order to send 1,200 National Guardsmen to the southwest border region.
"Violence along the New Mexico-Mexico border is a major concern and we are taking steps to ensure the safety of our citizens," said Governor Bill Richardson. "I am pleased that New Mexico is one of the first of four border states to have our Guardsmen trained and fully operational along the border following the President's order for additional troops."
The New Mexico National Guardsmen assigned to the border region have undergone specialized training with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security as well as military training for this mission. The troops will provide criminal investigative analysis and Entry Identification Teams along the border area.
Earlier this year, Governor Richardson ordered New Mexico National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Kenny C. Montoya, to send 70 Guardsmen to the border area after the shooting death of a local rancher on the Arizona-Mexico border. Today's announcement is in addition to the nearly 120 Guard personnel that are already performing the Counterdrug mission on the border.
Governor Richardson in 2005 declared a State of Emergency along the New Mexico-Mexico border as a result of border-related violence. As a result of that emergency declaration, border communities were able to pay for additional law enforcement. The emergency also led to the creation of a field office for the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in Las Cruces.