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Statements By Cornyn, Teague, Cook On President’s Plan To Send Troops To Border

Texas Sen. John Cornyn “Our children are living in fear, but the Obama White House is living in denial,” said Senator Cornyn. “The President must make border security a priority, not an afterthought or an empty talking point. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment and help send a message to our border communities that the federal government accepts its responsibility to keep them safe.”

In recent months, drug-related violence and other illegal activities along the Southwest border have escalated. Although President Obama called on his cabinet and all federal law enforcement agencies to ramp up their efforts to stop the illegal drug trade and weapons trafficking, he did not commit nearly enough resources to support his request. In his fiscal year 2011 budget request, President Obama cut funding to many of the law enforcement agencies tasked with combating drug violence and trafficking, and ensuring border security.

Senator Cornyn’s amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R. 4899) corrects the misplaced priorities of the Obama Administration, dedicating robust funding for border security and ensuring the President commits the necessary resources to the Southwest border. The amendment provides resources for federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who work on the frontlines of the U.S.-Mexico border every day. More specifically, Senator Cornyn’s amendment will fund six important priorities involving border security, which include border security and technology, state and local law enforcement, southwest border taskforces, border enforcement personnel, detention and removal activities, and ports of entry.

Each of these priorities are explained in detail below:

Border Security Equipment and Technology Provides $144 million for expanded unmanned aerial vehicle operations, including the purchase of six additional Predator B unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), ground control stations, and funding for UAV pilots and support staff

Provides $49.4 million for 10 additional helicopters for border enforcement

Provides $360 million for border surveillance and monitoring equipment, vehicles and mobile technology

State and Local Law Enforcement Provides $300 million for State and local law enforcement entities, operating within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, to purchase equipment, hire personnel, including investigators and detectives, and cover salaries and expenses associated with border enforcement

Southwest Border Taskforces Provides $140 million in funding for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Programs in Southwest border states

Provides $44.7 million in funding for National Guard Counterdrug Programs in Southwest border states to support drug interdiction and anti-drug activities

Border Enforcement Personnel Provides Federal agencies (DEA, ATF, ICE and CBP) with over $340 million to hire and support criminal investigators, special agents, intelligence analysts, and other personnel for drug enforcement and illicit firearms trafficking

Detention and Removal Activities Increases detention capacity an additional 3,300 beds annually over a two-year period at a cost of $151 million

Provides $125 million to hire 500 additional detention and removal officers

Provides $89 million to expand repatriation programs that return illegal aliens to their home countries

Ports of Entry Provides $200 million to hire 500 CBP officers to staff southwest border ports of entry and for infrastructure improvements at high-volume ports of entry

Senator Cornyn serves on the Finance, Judiciary, Agriculture and Budget Committees. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.

New Mexico Congressman Harry Teague Congressman Harry Teague issued the following statement in reaction to the President’s request for $500 million to deploy 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The rising violence along the U.S.-Mexico border represents a serious threat to our national security and a danger to the many U.S. citizens that live along the border. I’ve been fighting to get our National Guard to the border and to give the Border Patrol the tools they need to protect us. The President has heard our call for strategic action, and he’s doing the right thing by calling for funding to support placing 1200 national guard on the border. The President has responded to our request and now is the time for Congress to act and provide the necessary funding to secure our border, protect our citizens and preserve our nation’s security interests.”

As Vice Chair of the Congressional Border Caucus, Congressman Harry Teague has consistently called for a robust, comprehensive strategy to address the violence along the border. Last month he called on the President to send the National Guard to the border address the growing national security threat there and led 50 of his colleagues in requesting supplemental funding to step up border security, including funding for National Guard on the border. Congressman Teague has also called on President Barack Obama to convene a White House Summit with the aim of building a policy to address the border violence crisis, ensure that the violence does not spill over into the United States, and help America get back to work building our border economies. Additionally, Teague and his staff have held meetings with ranchers and various border law enforcement agencies to collaborate with them on a strategy to secure our border and keep residents along the border safe.

El Paso Mayor John Cook “I am hoping that a portion of the money that the White House is requesting will be spent at the Ports of Entry because we have already spent $393 million in the El Paso sector alone for 131 miles of border fence at $3 million per mile. This is a total of 646 miles of fence along the entire US-Mxico border.

The federal government has also increased the number of Border Patrol Agents by 80% since 2004 to a total of 20,000 agents. I support Congressman Reyes’ request for additional resources at the ports of entry since significant investments have already been made between the ports of entry.

As a member of the Southwest Border Security Taskforce’s Commerce Subgroup and tasked by Secretary Napolitano with drafting recommendations to improve border crossings, the Taskforce also supports the request for additional resources at the ports of entry.

I do not oppose sending 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mxico border as long as they are support personnel for the purpose of activities such as observation, detection and communication but not to enforce immigration law.”

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