Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) is urging against a plan being considered by the administration to begin to withdraw National Guard troops from the US-Mexico border in February 2011. Rep. Poe plans to join other members of Congress in a letter to the President later today.
"The last thing we need to do right now is pull any resources from the border," said Poe. "In fact, we need to be doing the exact opposite. Considering any plan that would draw down troops from the border and further weaken national security shows exactly how far out-of-touch Washington really is with reality."
The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that under this proposed plan, in February 2011, the Texas, New Mexico and California National Guard forces that were deployed to the border in September 2010, under the President's Southwest Border Augmentation Plan, will have 30 days to complete a total draw down of forces. The funds originally budgeted to those three states will be reprogrammed to allow Arizona an additional 100 troops from March - September 2011 or until such time when the funding allocated to this program is exhausted.
"The current funding and deployment is inadequate," continued Poe. "In Texas, the current deployment of 286 unarmed troops for 1,256 miles of border is nothing more than a political attempt to say they are doing something, when in fact they are not doing anything. The American people are sick to death of the continued lip service given to the war along our southern border. We protect the people and the borders of other nations every day, it's time we start taking care of business at home."
Recently, Congressman Poe filed the National Guard Border Enforcement Act. This bill will authorize the Secretary of Defense to make 10,000 National Guard troops available upon request from a U.S. Governor. In addition, these troops will be paid for by the federal government and serve under the command of the requesting governor.
Prior to serving in Congress, Congressman Poe served as a prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas, for 30 years. Poe regularly travels to the southern border and is recognized by the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition as a top supporter of law enforcement and border security. Congressman Poe serves on the Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security; a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; and serves as an Executive Member of the Immigration Reform Caucus.
The text of the letter reads:
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NM
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
In May of this year, you authorized the deployment of 1,200 National Guard to assist federal law enforcement along the U.S. - Mexico border with the fight against recurring violence, illegal immigration and drug smuggling. These forces are vital to protecting our border, which is why we favor increasing the number of troops on the border, not eliminating them. Unfortunately, this plan fell miserably short in the number of troops, the duration of their deployment and the budget necessary to achieve success. We are aware of your plan to end the National Guard deployment in Texas, fewer than six months after the beginning of operations, and we strongly object to this action. Until the border is secured, this course of action seriously jeopardizes our National Security and unnecessarily puts Americans at risk.
The violence along the border has not decreased. While your Southwest Border Augmentation Plan was established to reinforce the insufficient resources along our border with Mexico, it has not had enough time to be effective. The recent murder at Falcon Lake is a stark example that the security situation on the border still requires the National Guard's presence. Until the border is secure, we need more troops at the border, not fewer.
Governor Perry has requested 1,000 National Guard troops to be deployed under Title 32 authority to the Texas - Mexico border to support ongoing Texas' border security efforts. These troops would be used in direct support of civilian law enforcement and provide the appropriate level of support the brave Customs and Border Protection agents so desperately need. We ask that you immediately grant approval of Governor Perry's request.
Further complicating the alarming situation at the border, Customs and Border Protection has announced that next Tuesday, they will resume the Alien Transfer and Exit Program (ATEP) that will bring detained illegal aliens from other states to the Del Rio, Texas where they will be released to Mexican officials. This program should not be restarted until the resources needed to secure the border are in place.
Americans want and deserve a secure border. Removing National Guard troops from the Texas border and restarting ATEP work directly against that objective. We ask that you immediately reverse your decisions and allow the National Guard to stay at the border and delay the resumption of ATEP in Texas until the border is secure. In addition, we ask that you immediately grant Governor Perry's 2009 request for 1000 National Guard troops at the Texas border.