Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) was joined by 20 members of Congress to announcethe National Guard Border Enforcement Act. This bill, H.R. 6253,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.

In response to the federal governments failure to answer the repeated requests of Governor Perry and other border state governors to protect our international borders, the National Guard Border Enforcement Act will ensure that border state governors have the needed resources to protect their citizens from the ongoing border related violence.

The first duty of the federal government is to protect its people, said Poe. Texans are tired of the federal governments failure to secure our borders and enforce our laws, yet at the same time running roughshod over state governments when they try to enforce the law and protect their citizens. The federal governments not our problem attitude is unacceptable and this legislation will require the Defense Department to do what they were created to do protect the people of this country and the dignity of our borders.

"This is a tremendous first step in restoring America's ability to secure our border, said House Republican Conference SecretaryJohn Carter(TX-31).Congressman Poe's billaddressesthe lead recommendation from our southern border field investigations in August."

Currently, the Department of Defense has only allocated 250 National Guard troops for entire 1,254 mile long Texas-Mexico border. Recently, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano indicated that the state of Texas would be forced to pay for any additional troops to enforce existing federal immigration laws along the international border.

The federal government is directly responsible for enforcing existing laws to secure our borders and ensure the safe and legal movement of people, goods, and commerce across our borders, said Congressman John Culberson (TX-08). Unfortunately President Obama has failed in this effort and it is now time for Congress to act. There is a war on our southern border and it is time to put an end to the horrific violence.

Numerous news accounts have reported on cross border gunfire coming into El Paso, Texas, hitting buildings and passenger vehicles traveling along US highways. In Arizona, the federal government is erecting signs to warn travelers that entire stretches of US highways are no longer safe for US citizens.

Under the National Guard Border Enforcement Act, troops will be authorized to conduct:

Armed vehicle and foot patrols on the U.S. southern border

Interdiction of a vehicle, vessel, aircraft or other similar activities

Search, seizure, and detention of suspects

Construction of roads, fences, and vehicle barriers

Search and rescue operations

Intelligence gathering, surveillance, and reconnaissance

Aviation support

Additionally, the bill would allow the Secretary of Defense to authorize additional troops should operational control of the U.S. border not be achieved with the first 10,000 deployed.

In addition to the National Guard Border Enforcement Act, Congressman Poe has been a leading advocate in Washington to secure our borders. For a list of sponsored and cosponsored border security legislation, please click here.

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 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.

Original cosponsors of the National Guard Border Enforcement Act include: Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21), Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32), Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22), Rep. Sam Johnson (TX-03), Rep. John Carter (TX-31), Rep. Kay Granger (TX-12), Rep. Kenny Marchant (TX-24), Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04), Rep. Ed Royce (CA-40), Rep. Joe Barton (TX-06), Rep. John Culberson (TX-07), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-08), Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10), Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06), Rep. Pete Hoekstra (MI-02), Rep. John Shadegg (AZ-03), Rep. John Fleming (LA-04), Rep. Sam Graves (MO-06) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46).