Friday, April 15, 2016

Udall, Heinrich say Border Patrol needs more resources

Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich urged U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to promptly address border security and safety issues in the Bootheel region of Southern New Mexico. In a letter to CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, Udall and Heinrich called for the agency to provide resources and equipment to help local Border Patrol agents more effectively patrol the region's vast rugged terrain...more

From requests in their letter:

- Implement policies to encourage agent retention at the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station..
- Provide at least a dozen additional horses and related equipment to increase the reach of agents and assess the need for additional all-terrain vehicles for agents to patrol the Bootheel...
- Work with the National Guard to ensure that its counternarcotic assets and expertise are more focused on the border to act as force multipliers to help Border Patrol cover more of this rugged, rural territory.  The New Mexico National Guard has four helicopters it would like to use at the border year-round, including two with infrared cameras... 
- Ensure agents patrolling the Bootheel region are provided adequate night vision technology.  

All of those are items that were mentioned at one time or the other at the March 10th meeting and its great the Senators have communicated them to the Commissioner.

Not mentioned, however, was the Number One priority mentioned by each of the presenters:  Deploy the agents along the border, not 20-30-40 miles north of the border.  The folks' testimony made it very clear that adding more agents, ATVs, horses, night goggles, etc. won't solve their problems if they are deployed miles north of the border.  That would still leave these people in a sacrifice area, a no man's land, because BP tactics have, in effect, moved the boundary north of the border. 

You have to wonder why the deployment issue wasn't addressed in the letter.  Congressman Pearce brought it up.  Of course, he was at the meeting.  Udall and Heinrich weren't.

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