The National Guard: A Proven Method to Secure our Borders
from the desk of Congressman Steven Palazzo
For years, we have struggled to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into our country and secure our borders. But in the last few months, this problem has hit crisis mode with more than 50,000 illegal immigrants flooding our southern border, and another 40,000 projected still to come.
I believe this is a crisis created by President Obama’s failed immigration policies. He’s now asked for more spending money in order to deal with the mess he made. Most of his proposal goes to housing and feeding illegal immigrants, not border security. Essentially, he wants more money for not doing his job.
It is clear that the president is in over his head. He’d rather spend money to babysit than to bolster our borders. Without a sincere commitment from the president to deter illegal immigration, defend our borders, and deport illegal immigrants, I cannot support emergency spending that does nothing to solve this created border crisis.
As a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, I believe border security is national security, and so securing our borders should be a top priority. We must secure our borders first before we can begin to address any additional immigration reforms. A promise to secure the border is not going to cut it. Most importantly, we should never grant amnesty to those who’ve broken the law and crossed our borders illegally.
President Obama’s executive orders lie at the root of the current border crisis. Since he took office, the president has embarked on a calculated effort to grant amnesty to as many illegal immigrants as possible. He has failed to enforce current immigration laws. He has released thousands of illegal immigrants who should have been deported- including violent criminals. The president has brought legal action to block states from helping stem the tide of illegal immigration, and he has circumvented Congress by implementing DREAM Act-like executive orders.
Some blame violence and corruption in Central American countries, yet internal reports from the CBP and Intelligence community have confirmed the obvious – the violence hasn’t changed, only the border policies.
If the president is looking to take effective action to secure our borders, he should revoke his overreaching executive orders, enforce the laws on the books, and send the National Guard to help get operational control of the border.
As an active member of the National Guard, I see firsthand the importance of the National Guard supporting our Armed Forces as we protect our country. Guard members have bravely served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade during the war on terror. They’ve fought in conditions similar to the southern borders and have engaged in missions that mirror many of the border security objectives under the Border Patrol.
As Guard members return from overseas, many of them stand ready and willing for their next mission. Along the southern border, illegal immigration, powerful drug cartels, and terrorist groups pose significant risks to our nation’s security. A National Guard presence would serve to deter these risks and defend our borders.
The use of the National Guard is a proven method to secure our borders. Over the past 30 years, presidents from both parties have utilized the Guard in various missions. The National Guard has supported law enforcement agencies in counterdrug and interdiction operations. The Guard has lent support to Border Patrol and DHS on three separate missions in the last decade. In 2006, President Bush initiated Operation Jump Start and called up 6,000 Guard members to assist Border Patrol agents. The mission was a success, as the Guard apprehended 5,000 illegal immigrants and seized over 30,000 pounds of illicit drugs.
Last year, I called on the Administration to use the National Guard to help secure the border. In May 2013, I offered an amendment to the Border Security Results Act, which would ensure that DHS considers lessons learned from past National Guard missions on the border. I am pleased to see that Speaker Boehner and many of my other colleagues have begun to call for the National Guard as well.
As the Administration scrambles to clean up the mess it has created, Congress should not give money that would allow amnesty in any form nor continue policies that only weaken our national security. In the coming weeks, I will further push my colleagues to hold the Administration accountable and secure our borders.
Congressman Steve Palazzo (MS-4)