Skip to comments.[Texas National Guard border]Security operation expected to end next year
Posted on 05/13/2007 7:43:09 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch
EDINBURG The Texas National Guard has reassigned hundreds of soldiers deployed along the states southern border and expects to remove several more before the end of the summer, military officials confirmed this week.
The shift is expected to free up more guardsmen for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and bolster the states preparedness for emergency management at home.
But it could also stymie the U.S. Border Patrols efforts to increase manpower along the Rio Grande and slow the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants across the border.
The drawdown comes as part of a planned de-escalation of Operation Jump Start a controversial security initiative that deployed 6,000 guardsmen to border regions in four states last year to tide over the Border Patrol until it could follow a Bush Administration plan to hire and train an equal number of new agents by 2008s end.
We are scaling back in the Valley sector, said National Guard Lt. Col. Orlando Salinas, who has coordinated border security efforts for the Rio Grande Valleys National Guard battalion. As more and more new Border Patrol agents are coming in, our soldiers are heading out.
Last May, President Bush urged governors in Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico to send the troops for what he described as a state of emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry deployed 1,700 soldiers in support of Operation Jump Start, many of whom arrived in the Valley sector.
By the end of next month, the agency expects to lose half of those National Guard soldiers, most of who have been primarily assigned to intelligence and administrative positions.
The guard plans to withdraw all troops from the border by early next summer.
So far, more than 150 guardsmen deployed to the Valley sector have been reassigned, Salinas said.
Some of these soldiers have already been deployed to other missions, including Iraq, he said.
During Operation Jump Startss first year, guardsmen across the U.S.-Mexico border helped fill out paperwork for sworn agents, took charge of vehicle maintenance and helped set up security infrastructure such as light posts, infrared sensors and cameras.
Guardsmen also played a crucial role in new border intelligence centers, which helped to map immigration patterns and track data from electronic sensors in the field, Border Patrol agents said.
The guardsmen did not have the authority to arrest or detain illegal immigrants or suspected drug smugglers.
Still, soldiers were directly involved in identifying more than 70,000 illegal immigrants, seizing nearly 20,000 pounds of drugs and discovering almost $60,000 since June 2006, said Xavier Rios, a Washington-D.C.-based spokesman for the Border Patrol.
As the 3,000 soldiers begin to leave Jump Start, the Border Patrol has filled hundreds of new positions.
From October to March, the agency has graduated 1,300 recruits from its Artesia, N.M., training facility, Rios said.
The Border Patrol hopes to maintain several of the administrative jobs soldiers helped fill, but recruits for these positions will not count toward the agencys overall hiring goal by 2008, Rios said.
(The guardsmen) have helped free up a number of our sworn agents from administrative and intelligence tasks, Rios said. And that has helped us tremendously in accelerating our border security efforts.
Lt. Col. Salinas estimates that of the Texas National Guard troops stationed between Laredo and Brownsville, nearly 40 percent were soldiers who grew up in the Valley a factor that played into the missions overall success.
Our Valley soldiers have lived here their whole lives, so who better than them to understand the areas border security problems, he said.
Many of them have enjoyed the work so much that they have decided to seek permanent employment with the agency.
More than 10 guardsmen assigned to Salinas Valley battalion have completed training to become full-time Border Patrol agents.
I think its been a perfect marriage, he said.
We have a significant historic relationship with the Border Patrol, and it will continue to withstand the tests of time. ____
Jeremy Roebuck covers law enforcement and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4437.
2008 - 2013 = 5 years of Operation Dead Battery!
If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.
What do we do on the border? Honestly... the last amnesty happened... this one is happening on schedule. What do you do when both parties are down with the New World Order?
The shift is expected to free up more guardsmen for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan
Ahhhhh, because Iraq and Iran are always more important than the tax paying citizens of America.
The border IS at "home!"
What do we do on the border?
They say that but bitch there are not enough guardsmen to help on the border but are against the war in Iraq. You cant win with these two faced people.
That is true, we are told that the Guard Units on the Arizona Border are going to start being redeployed this summer also. How long can they/we continue to do the job the Government refuses to do? Some of us are going to continue on, but we keep losing volunteers, and recruiting efforts are getting zero results.
Oh, no! First there's no NG response in N.O., then it was Kansas, and now it's Texas!!! Whatever are we going to do!!! Whaa, the sky is falling!!! It's Bush's fault!
Start honoring BP who shoot first and ask questions later rather than prosecuting them for doing their job is the only way to win back our country.
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