Re: President's Border Plan is Election Season Window Dressing

Last night, the President has proposed a plan to increase the security of our nation's borders. The American people expect and deserve border security that works and a strong policy to resolve the current illegal immigration problem. Unfortunately, the President's plan shifts responsibility for this important requirement from the civilian agencies of the Department of Homeland Security to the already overstretched National Guard.



For years, I have said that our forces are being stretched thin by current operations. This mission along the Mexico border will add unnecessarily to their mission requirements. Many of our National Guard forces have already served a year in the Iraqi desert; we are now asking them to take on an additional year in the desert of the Southwestern United States. I believe the job of protecting our nation's borders is better left to the civilian professionals who have been assigned this responsibility and who have been trained for the mission.

Without a doubt, our border needs additional protection. To ensure this, the President and Congressional Leaders ought to provide the necessary Border Security personnel to do the job. Congress authorized 2,000 new Border Patrol agents each year for five years as part of the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004. Last year, the President's budget called for only 210 new Border Patrol agents, and Congress provided for only 1,500. This year's budget continues to give border security the short shrift.

The security of our nation demands that we secure our borders. The President must step forward with a plan that addresses the continual under-funding and under-manning of the Border Patrol. We must not shift the burden from this lack of homeland security planning to our nation's military. Doing so could jeopardize the recruitment and retention of our National Guard forces.