As a border state Senator, I hear almost every day from constituents who must deal with illegal entries into our country.  Because of this, I have introduced legislation to build on the success of the National Guard as part of Operation Jump Start.

Operation Jump Start began as a presidential initiative in 2006 to direct National Guardsmen from across the United States to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) along our southern border.  During a six-week period in the summer of 2006, the operation successfully apprehended over 2,500 illegal immigrants and seized tens of thousands of pounds of illegal drugs.

Although a proven success, Operation Jump Start is being phased out.  Believing this is a mistake, I have introduced legislation to continue Operation Jump Start at its initial level of 6,000 Guardsmen along our Southwest border until we gain control of the area.  My bill would also expand current federal law that allows governors to utilize their state’s National Guardsmen for illegal drug interdiction activities to also provide for border control activities—including the construction of roads, fences and vehicle barriers; intelligence gathering; infrastructure repair; and general support of existing CBP work.

As we look to secure our borders, I believe our National Guardsmen are an invaluable asset.  In helping the CBP better defend the border, our Guardsmen are too gaining valuable training.  I hope the Senate will take decisive action on my legislation to ensure their important work under the Operation Jump Start initiative continues.