This week, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) and Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) were joined by 17 border sheriffs from TX, AZ, and NM in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, requesting that he send surplus equipment returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to the Southern border with Mexico.
Over the next several months, a massive draw down of U.S. Forces in Iraq will occur. More than 1.5 million pieces of equipment have already been shipped out of Iraq over the last year and nearly 900,000 remain. Much of this equipment would be useful to the federal, state and local law enforcement in their efforts to secure the border with Mexico. Congressman Poe also introduced H.R. 3422 the SEND Act which would direct the Department of Defense to make 10% of certain equipment returning from Iraq to the Southern border available for use by law enforcement agencies that patrol our southern border.
ìWe have brought this right to the Secretary of Defense, because border security is a national security issue,î said Poe. ìState and local officials are on the front lines of the southern border fighting to protect Americans from spillover violence from Mexico. They do the best they can with what theyíve got but they are out-manned and out-gunned by the drug cartels and they are desperate for more resources. For years, the American people have invested their money in equipment that has been used to defend the borders of other nations; itís time that we use this equipment to secure the United States. I thank Governor Perry for all the work he has done to secure the Texas border and I look forward to working with Secretary Panetta, Rep. Cuellar and the Texas border sheriffs to ensure that law enforcement has the equipment they need to protect our citizens.î
ìIf we want to boost border security, we have to help law enforcement agencies beef up their resources to meet this demand. We cannot have one without the other,î said Cuellar. ìWe intend to keep the lines of communication open with the Defense Department so that we can help our border law enforcement agencies navigate the equipment application process. I join Congressman Poe and our border sheriffs to help reinforce collaboration with Secretary Panetta for the betterment of our border communities.î In January, Cuellar hosted a meeting with Defense Department Assistant Undersecretary Paul N. Stockton in Laredo, Texas, to brief South Texas local law enforcement agencies on programs available through the DoD Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative. More than 100 officers, including border federal law enforcement agents, participated to learn more about military surplus equipment and technology acquisition.
CLICK HERE to view the letter sent to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.