Yesterday, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) filed the National Guard Border Enforcement Act. This bill is identical to the legislation filed in the 111th Congress. The bill 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.
Recent news reports indicate that the Department of Homeland Security will deploy National Guard troops to Afghanistan to help in securing the border with Pakistan.
We protect the borders of other countries better than we protect our own, said Poe. The first duty of the federal government is to protect its people and that includes our homeland.
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.
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, said Poe. 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.
Currently, the Department of Defense has only allocated 250 National Guard troops for entire 1,256 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.
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 of 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
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. Poe regularly travels to the southern border and is recognized by the Texas 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.
Prior to serving in Congress, Congressman Poe served as a prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas, for 30 years.