Today, Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN-05) along with Congressmen Ted Poe (TX-2), Ralph Hall (TX-4), Pete Olson (TX-22) and Congressman Ed Royce (CA-40) sent a letter to President Barack Obama expressing concern regarding the deteriorating security situation along the United States southern border. The letter addresses the murder of a U.S. citizen that took place on Falcon Lake on the Texas border with Mexico. Rep. Burton is strongly urging President Obama to pursue more serious dialogue with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, calling for complete construction of a border fence to secure our border and pushing for an immediate deployment of additional National Guard troops to the region. Rep. Burton's letter to President Obama is as follows:
October 26, 2010
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to you today to express our extreme concern regarding the deteriorating security situation along our Nation's southern border. It seems that every day brings a new report of some atrocity; the most recent being the apparent murder of a U.S. citizen at Falcon Lake, Texas; yet little if anything appears to be being done by our government or the Mexican government to stop the bloodshed and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Protecting our borders and our citizens is a paramount responsibility of the Federal government; enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution. It would be an unforgiveable breach of our constitutional responsibilities if we do not take stronger measures not only to prevent the upward spiral of violence from further spilling over into the United States and threaten the safety of U.S. citizens on American soil but to reclaim those areas of our border already overrun by smugglers and criminals. We can no longer pretend that this is simply Mexico's problem. The time has come to recognize that the drug violence along the border is a direct threat to the United States and act accordingly.
First, it has become apparent that the Mexican government and law enforcement authorities are either unwilling or unable to address this problem unilaterally. Therefore, we believe it is imperative that you immediately begin serious dialogue with President Calderon on building a comprehensive framework, in the spirit of Plan Colombia, that will better coordinate a more aggressive and proactive strategy to turn the tide of this conflict.
Second, we must complete construction of the border fence. Any responsibility we have to minimize the impact of the fence on the physical landscape or native species in the region pales in comparison when measured against the value of human lives that will be lost if we do not seal the border.
Finally, we believe it is critical that we deploy additional National Guard troops to the border. Media reports indicate that 17,000 National Guard troops were deployed to the Gulf region to respond to the recent oil spill. Yet, you have only pledged 1,200 National Guard troops to protect the border -- and according to media reports only a small fraction of those troops have arrived to date. It is unrealistic, if not pure insanity, to believe that a mere 1,200 National Guard troops, even with the support of the Border Patrol, can effectively cover the nearly 2,000 mile long Southwestern border of the United States. We must put additional bodies on the ground and we must give them the weapons and specify rules of engagement that give them the authority to do whatever is necessary to secure the border. A National Guard trooper armed with only a pistol and given no authority to engage the enemy is useless against a criminal armed with military grade weapons and ammunition.
Mr. President, we implore you to view this situation for what it is, a war and to act accordingly.
Ralph M. Hall,
Edward R. Royce,