Barber is grateful National Guard on border extended | News
The following is a news release from Congressman Barber's office:
U.S. Rep. Ron Barber welcomed Friday’s announcement that National Guard troops will continue to be stationed on the U.S.-Mexico border through next year.
“The National Guard has been a tremendous asset in our continuing work to secure the border,” said Barber, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “The Guard’s presence allows the Border Patrol to focus on its mission of apprehending those who enter the United States illegally and keep those who live and work near the border safe. This extension is an important step forward, but there is more work to do.”
The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense announced Friday that they would continue the deployment of about 300 National Guard troops along the nation’s southern border through 2013. The deployment had been scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2012.
In addition to the Guardsmen, the deployment will include National Guard aerial assets – both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft – equipped with the latest detection and monitoring capability. Air assets play an essential role in early detection and interdiction efforts.
Barber, a member of the House Border Security Caucus, said it is important to ensure that drug-fueled violence in Mexico not be allowed to spill over into Southern Arizona. And working to secure the border will allow legal cross-border traffic and commerce to operate more freely.
National Guard troops have been assigned to Arizona, as well as the border areas of California, New Mexico and Texas. They are armed but do not take part in apprehension of those who enter the country illegally. The support role played by the Guard allows for agents to focus on enforcement and apprehension.
Since March, Guardsmen have assisted in nearly 20,000 arrests along the southern border and the seizure of more than 50 tons of marijuana.
National Guard troops first were assigned to the border in May 2010 at the request of then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Their mission since has been extended several times. Barber was Giffords’ district director and lead for border security issues in Southern Arizona. He worked closely with border residents to identify the needs of the community.
Under the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, troops under federal authority are not permitted to carry out direct law enforcement functions inside the United States.
As part of their scheduled training, National Guard troops have built fences and roads and manned observation posts along the border, supporting the mission of the Border Patrol.
In August, Barber introduced bipartisan legislation that calls for the United States and Mexico to work cooperatively to fight Mexican criminal organizations that threaten people living on both sides of the border.
Barber is one of the lead sponsors of the bipartisan United States-Mexico Cross-Border Security Act. Barber’s district includes 110 miles of the border and he is one of 10 members of the House who has constituents on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The legislation would direct the State Department to create a plan involving all parts of the federal government in a united effort to fight Mexican transnational criminal organizations. The plan would target the criminals by cutting off money-laundering capabilities and securing the border through additional staffing, infrastructure, technology and intelligence coordination.