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For Immediate Release
August 9, 2007
Setting The Record Straight: The Administration Is Meeting Its Commitment To Border Security
The Washington Times Wrongly Claims National Guard Troops Being Withdrawn "Earlier Than Promised"
The Washington Times inaccurately claims National Guard troops assigned to the U.S.-Mexico Border under Operation Jump Start are "being pulled off the line a year earlier than promised." (Jerry Seper, "Guard Troops Pulled Back From Border," The Washington Times, 8/9/07)
There Is No Basis For The Claim That National Guard Troops Are Being Drawn Down Early
When he announced Operation Jump Start in May 2006, President Bush clearly stated that "the initial commitment of Guard members would last for a period of one year." THE PRESIDENT: "This initial commitment of Guard members would last for a period of one year. After that, the number of Guard forces will be reduced as new Border Patrol agents and new technologies come online." (President George W. Bush, Address To The Nation On Immigration Reform, Washington, DC, 5/15/06)
The President announced in August 2006 that we had met the pledge to put 6,000 National Guard members in Southern Border states under the first phase of Operation Jump Start. These National Guard members are not involved in direct law enforcement activities; instead, they are providing help with surveillance, construction, and logistics. Their support has allowed the Border Patrol to move more than 500 agents to the front line from administrative support positions.
Under the second phase of Operation Jump Start, 3,000 National Guard troops will remain on duty at our Southern border through June 2008. In addition, to continue enabling Border Patrol agents to work in the field rather than behind a desk, the Department of Homeland Security is spending about $40 million on 536 administrative support personnel in FY 2007 and is requesting $49.3 million in FY 2008 to support 688 administrative support personnel for the Border Patrol.
More Than A Year Since Operation Jump Start Was Announced, We Have Increased The Size Of The Border Patrol And Enhanced Border Security Infrastructure
As of July 2007, the Border Patrol has added 2,300 agents since National Guard support began under Operation Jump Start in June 2006. The Border Patrol now has more than 14,000 agents serving today – up from 9,000 in 2001 – and is on track to add roughly 600 more agents by September 30. The Administration expects to add 3,000 agents in Fiscal Year 2008, doubling the size of the Border Patrol to 18,000 agents since the President took office.
By September 30, we will have approximately 150 miles of fencing and 100 miles of vehicular barriers in place at our border. In addition, today there are in place:
Because of the deterrence of our enhanced security measures, apprehensions are down 24 percent along the Southwest border compared to the same period during the previous fiscal year. The number of other-than-Mexican alien apprehensions is down 48 percent. This is a result of the success of Operation Jump Start as well as implementing catch and return, increased worksite enforcement, and continued prosecutions of smugglers and criminals who try enter the country illegally.
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