Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fewer troops coming to NM border than in previous deployment

The increase in troops to protect New Mexico's border with Mexico will only be a fraction of what it was during Operation Jump Start. During the height of Operation Jump Start, which was conducted from June 2006 until August 2008, there were about 1,000 National Guard soldiers in New Mexico. They built bollards to try to deter illegal immigrants from coming into the U.S. from Mexico, they built portions of a border fence near Columbus, and they provided surveillance and patrol along the border. But this time, only 72 National Guard soldiers - all coming from the New Mexico National Guard - will be added at the border. Currently, there are as many as 100 state National Guard troops at the border on a daily basis. The soldiers to be assigned to the New Mexico border will account for only six percent of the 1,200 National Guard soldiers that President Obama has ordered to patrol the 1,954 miles of shared border the U.S. has with Mexico. But Bingaman said the additional troops, combined with added National Guard troops that Gov. Bill Richardson sent to the border in early April, could make New Mexico's border safer. "While we have made important strides in reducing the number of people illegally entering our country, we still have some more work to do when it comes to addressing drug-related criminal activity along the border," Bingaman said. "This increased National Guard presence will be helpful as we continue to find permanent solutions to securing our border communities." But Bingaman added he and other members of New Mexico's congressional delegation will be keeping close watch on the border to ensure that there is no increase in activity as a result of stepped-up enforcement in neighboring states. "We want to make sure there is no more shift of illegal activity," McCartin said...more

Let's see, Arizona gets 524 agents and NM get 72.

Bingaman wants to designate a quarter of a million acres near the border as wilderness where the Border Patrol can't use motorized vehicles.

Increased enforcement in Arizona, when combined with Bingaman's wilderness designations, will definitely lead to a "shift of illegal activity" and the Senator knows it.

I continue to hope he will drop the band-aide changes he's offered so far, and instead adopt the compromise proposed by the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce which has been endorsed by many important groups and entities.

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