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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 10, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: More Than 2,500 National Guard Troops Are Supporting Operation Jump Start In The Border States

      Setting the Record Straight

NBC Reports There Are "Fewer Than 1,000" National Guard Troops Along The Border. NBC's HODA KOTBE: "Well back here on the ground, there are reports of a snag in the President's border patrol plan. Instead of growing to 6,000 National Guard troops along the border, there are fewer than 1,000, with many states reluctant to send more." (NBC's "Nightly News," 7/9/06)

CBS Reports There Are "Less Than 900 Guards Actually On The Border Right Now." CBS' TRISH REGAN: "But Operation Jump Start, to strengthen the Border Patrol with National Guard troops, seems to have stalled. There are less than 900 guards actually on the border right now." (CBS' "Evening News," 7/9/06)

The National Guard Has Met And Exceeded Its Goal

The National Guard Has Met And Exceeded Its Goal Of Deploying 2,500 Soldiers And Airmen To The Four Southwest Border States. WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN BLAIN RETHMEIER: "As defined by the operation, the National Guard has met and exceeded its goal of deploying 2,500 soldiers and airmen to the four Southwest border states. … Progress to date is real and the Guard’s efforts are making a positive difference in this national effort." (Aaron C. Davis, "Guard: 2,500 Troops At Border States; 483 In Position," The Associated Press, 7/3/06)

As Of Today, 2,834 National Guard Troops Are Deployed To The Southwest Border States In One Of Three Categories:

1. Forward Deployed. Troops are physically deployed within the Border Patrol sector, fulfilling Customs and Border Protection (CBP) assigned duties in direct support of the Border Patrol. To support CBP's efforts to deter and apprehend illegal aliens from crossing the border, these troops are filling critical border security missions, including identifying and locating people attempting to enter illegally, maintaining fences and vehicles, and performing administrative duties to help get Border Patrol agents back to the front lines.

2. At Joint Task Force Headquarters. Troops are assigned and currently in the National Guard Joint Task Force area of operations, where they perform command and control functions and training. These Headquarters are located in Vista, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Austin, Texas.

3. In Training/Transition. Troops are within the border States and are engaged in preparatory training in areas including rules for use of force, cultural awareness, desert survival, and specific training to perform their border security duties assigned by CBP. As with any mission, training is a critical component to ensure the National Guard troops are fully prepared to perform their duties.

The National Guard's Border Efforts Are Already Having An Impact. "As evidence, [White House spokesman Blain Rethmeier] said the early arrival of troops had allowed the Border Patrol to send 125 agents 'back to the front lines,' and helped the Border Patrol catch nearly 200 illegal immigrants, seize 123 pounds of marijuana, 18 pounds of cocaine and seven vehicles. Through initial pay requests filed with the Air Guard and orders filed with the Army Guard, the Guard bureau verified 2,547 troops were in the four border states for the mission, said Daniel Donohue, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau." (Aaron C. Davis, "Guard: 2,500 Troops At Border States; 483 In Position," The Associated Press, 7/3/06)

President Bush Is Committed To Dramatic Improvements In Manpower And Technology At The Border. Since the President took office, the Administration has increased funding for border security by 66 percent, and expanded the Border Patrol from about 9,000 to 12,000 agents. By the end of 2008, the Administration will increase the number of Border Patrol officers by an additional 6,000 – doubling the size of the Border Patrol since the President took office. At the same time, the Administration will construct high-tech fences in urban corridors and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas. The Administration will create a virtual fence that employs motion sensors, infrared cameras, and unmanned aerial vehicles to detect and prevent illegal crossings.

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