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 Home > News & Policies > August 2006

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 3, 2006

Fact Sheet: Operation Jump Start: Acting Now to Secure the Border

     Fact sheet President Bush Discusses Comprehensive Immigration Reform in Texas
     Fact sheet In Focus: Immigration

Today, President Bush Toured The Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector And Discussed The Need For Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The President has called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that will secure our borders, enhance worksite enforcement, create a temporary worker program, resolve the status of illegal immigrants already here, and promote assimilation into our society, including by learning English.

The Administration Is Taking Action To Secure Our Border And Deter Illegal Immigration

Under Operation Jump Start, About 6,000 National Guard Members Have Deployed To Help The Border Patrol Secure The Southern Border. In May, the President pledged that we would have up to 6,000 National Guard members in Southern Border States. Today, the President announced that we have met that pledge.

  • National Guard Members Are On Duty Supporting The Border Patrol In Texas, California, Arizona, And New Mexico. The President's proposals to put more agents in place and upgrade technology will take time. National Guard troops are providing immediate help with surveillance, construction, and logistics. Guardsmen are building fences, as well as manning detection equipment on the border and in command centers.
  • The Arrival Of National Guard Reinforcements In Four Southern Border States Has Put More Manpower On The Border And Allowed The Border Patrol To Move More Than 300 Agents Into Front-Line Positions. This additional manpower is producing results:
    • With support from National Guard members deployed under Operation Jump Start, Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 2,500 illegal immigrants and seized more than 17,000 pounds of illegal drugs since June 15.
    • Last month, Border Patrol Agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector confiscated more than 4,200 pounds of marijuana hidden in a trailer. The support of the National Guard was important to making this seizure happen successfully.

We Are Deterring Illegal Immigration By Addressing The Problem Of "Catch And Release" At The Southern Border. For years, the government did not have enough detention space to hold all the illegal immigrants we catch at the border. Many were given a court date and released into society.  When the court date arrived, many did not show up. The practice of "catch and release" is unacceptable, and the Administration is working to end it on the Southern border.

  • We Have Expanded Beds In Detention Centers. We have added 500 beds in a detention center in the Rio Grande Valley, and we will be adding another 1,500. Earlier this summer, the President signed an emergency spending bill providing funding for 4,000 new beds, and the President's FY07 budget proposes funding to further increase this number to an estimated total of 6,700 new beds.
  • We Are Accelerating The Deportation Process. Our actions have helped end the old practice of "catch and release" at the Southern border for illegal immigrants from Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. For example, under Operation Texas Hold ‘Em, we cut through red tape so we could quickly return all Brazilians caught illegally crossing the Southern border, resulting in a significant drop in the number of apprehended illegal immigrants from Brazil across the border as a whole.

Since The President Took Office In 2001, We Have Increased Funding For Border Security By 66 Percent To More Than $7.6 Billion, Equipped The Border Patrol With Better Technology, Built New Infrastructure, And Expanded The Border Patrol From About 9,000 To About 12,000 Agents. Since 2001, Federal agents have used these resources to apprehend and send home more than 6 million people entering America illegally. Earlier this summer, the President signed an emergency spending bill that provided an additional $1.9 billion in immediate funding for border security.

President Bush Has Called On Congress To Fund Increases In Manpower And Technology That Will Help The Border Patrol Build On Its Success And Gain Full Control Of The Border. Under the President's proposal, we will increase the size of the Border Patrol by an additional 6,000 agents, to a total of about 18,000. In addition, we will build high-tech fences in urban corridors, and new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Must Address All Aspects Of Our Broken Immigration System

The President Has Called On Congress To Send Him A Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill That He Can Sign Into Law. Our Nation can have an immigration policy that is both rational and compassionate. Both the House and Senate have passed bills. The President calls on Congress to resolve its differences and send him a comprehensive immigration reform bill that he can sign into law.

In Addition To Securing The Border, Comprehensive Immigration Reform Must:

  • Create A Temporary Worker Program That Would Establish A Legal Channel For Foreign Workers To Enter Our Country In An Orderly Way, For A Limited Period Of Time. By creating a lawful channel for those who want to work in our country, a temporary worker program would reduce the number of people trying to sneak across the border, freeing agents to focus on apprehending criminals and terrorists who pose a threat to our security.
  • Enforce Our Immigration Laws At The Worksite. We are cracking down on employers who violate the law and working to ensure honest businesses have the tools they need to follow the law.  The President has called for the creation of a tamper-proof identification card for legal foreign workers, and has asked Congress to make the Basic Pilot employment verification program mandatory and provide Homeland Security with the funding and authority to make sure it is an effective tool.
  • Resolve The Status Of Illegal Immigrants Who Are Already In The Country. The President opposes amnesty. He supports a rational middle ground between automatic citizenship for every illegal immigrant and mass deportations of people who have been living here for many years with jobs, families, and deep roots in our country.
  • Help Newcomers Assimilate Into Our Society. We will honor the American tradition of the melting pot and help immigrants assimilate by learning our history, our values, and the English language.

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