USA — National Guard to Deploy to Southwest Border

WASHINGTON — About 1,200 Nation­al Guard troops will sup­port the Home­land Secu­ri­ty Depart­ment in enhanc­ing the secu­ri­ty of the nation’s South­west bor­der, Home­land Secu­ri­ty Sec­re­tary Janet Napoli­tano said here this week.

The Guards­men will assist in ongo­ing efforts to secure the bor­der and com­bat car­tels, Napoli­tano said dur­ing remarks June 22 at the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies about ongo­ing Home­land Secu­ri­ty ini­tia­tives and new strate­gies to bol­ster bor­der secu­ri­ty and enforce immi­gra­tion laws.

The Nation­al Guard deploy­ments have worked over the last 20 years in a coor­di­nat­ed fash­ion that frees up bor­der patrol agents for oth­er aspects of their duties, David Aguilar, deputy com­mis­sion­er of U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, said dur­ing a pan­el dis­cus­sion fol­low­ing Napolitano’s remarks.

“Sup­port from the Nation­al Guard — but yet a clear divi­sion: them not arrest­ing, not engag­ing in enforce­ment activ­i­ties direct­ly attrib­uted to any ille­gal cross­ings of either aliens, nar­cotics or things of that nature …

has worked out very well,” Aguilar said. “The Nation­al Guard … will bring us a tremen­dous amount of capa­bil­i­ty in secur­ing our bor­ders.”

Home­land Secu­ri­ty offi­cials work with fed­er­al, state, local, trib­al and Mex­i­can part­ners to crack down on bor­der-relat­ed crime and smug­gling while facil­i­tat­ing legit­i­mate trav­el and com­merce.

Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma has request­ed $500 mil­lion in sup­ple­men­tal funds for enhanced bor­der secu­ri­ty and law enforce­ment activ­i­ties in addi­tion to the deploy­ment of Nation­al Guard troops.

Napoli­tano announced sev­er­al addi­tion­al ini­tia­tives that include cre­at­ing new part­ner­ships with state and local law enforce­ment, build­ing infor­ma­tion-shar­ing capa­bil­i­ties, enhanc­ing tech­nol­o­gy, pri­or­i­tiz­ing the arrest and removal of dan­ger­ous crim­i­nal aliens and expand­ing unprece­dent­ed law enforce­ment part­ner­ships with Mex­i­co.

The Nation­al Guard sup­port­ed the bor­der secu­ri­ty mis­sion dur­ing Oper­a­tion Jump Start from 2006 to 2008. The lat­est mis­sion, employ­ing 1,200 vol­un­teers drawn from the four bor­der states, will pro­vide crim­i­nal inves­tiga­tive analy­sis and entry iden­ti­fi­ca­tion teams that will mon­i­tor the bor­der from strate­gic obser­va­tion points with state-of-the-art sur­veil­lance and detec­tion tac­tics and tech­nol­o­gy for one year.

The deploy­ment of Nation­al Guard troops is part of a mul­ti-lay­ered effort tar­get­ing illic­it net­works traf­fick­ing in peo­ple, drugs, ille­gal weapons and mon­ey, Guard offi­cials said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)