Arizona: Only 1% of Border Security Needs Met

As listener Rob snorted of the lack of muscle, “Right. This will scare them.”

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said requests by Arizona law enforcement personnel and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) for 3,000 National Guard troops along the state’s border with Mexico have been answered so far with 1 percent of that number deployed there this week.

“We have a whopping 30 [National Guard troops] this week that are showing up,” Babeu told “It’s less than a half-hearted measure designed to fail.”

But the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has placed 15 signs along a 60-mile stretch of Interstate 8 that links San Diego with Phoenix and Tucson warning travelers of drug cartels and human trafficking operations.

“DANGER – PUBLIC WARNING, TRAVEL NOT RECOMMENDED,” read the signs placed along Interstate 8. “Visitors May Encounter Armed Criminals and Smuggling Vehicles Traveling at High Rates of Speed. Stay Away From Trash, Clothing, Backpacks, and Abandoned Vehicles.”

“BLM Encourages Visitors To Use Public Land North of Interstate 8,” the signs say.

A handful of signs and 20 National Guard troops! FTW!

I’m trying to figure out why so few of the initial National Guard request were sent. It’s within the governor’s jurisdiction to call out the Guard (i.e. when Bush was criticized for not getting the National Guard in LA after Katrina when really, it was the gov’s lawful responsibility to do so and had Bush superseded this some would have made it a states’ rights battle); by all accounts Gov. Brewer made the request for the Guard but why so few sent? It would seem that the hold-up isn’t with her authority, but rather perhaps with the Defense Department.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced in July that the deployment would commence Aug. 1, but National Guard officials later said that date was meant only to reflect when troops would begin training.
In March 2009, Brewer wrote to the Defense Department requesting 250 additional soldiers for Arizona’s Joint Counter Narco-Terrorism Task Force, which already uses National Guard personnel.
About 30 troops will start their jobs on the border Monday, and waves of more troops will be deploying every Monday until all 532 are expected to be on the Arizona border by the end of September. In May, Obama ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to boost security along the border.

Brewer has been a sharp critic of the National Guard deployment, saying the troops aren’t enough and that Obama should have sent 6,000 along the border, half of them to Arizona.

But in March 2009, Brewer wrote Defense Secretary Robert Gates asking for 250 National Guard troops, less than half the amount now being sent.

I have to say, given the current state of things near the border, I agree with Gov. Brewer and Sheriff Babeu. The Department of Defense needs to get serious about border security. Too little only exacerbates the problem and sends worse than a weak message to those placing bounties on the heads of US law enforcement.