Bush: National Guard Improving Border Security
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2006 The deployment of more than 6,000 National Guard troops to the U.S. southwest border met a key objective in the government’s efforts to secure the border, President Bush said here yesterday.
Bush visited the Rio Grand Valley Border Patrol sector Aug. 3, and saw firsthand how the National Guard troops are working with Border Patrol agents. “National Guard troops are helping with surveillance, construction and logistics,” Bush said in his weekly radio address. “They're building and repairing fences, maintaining vehicles, and manning detection equipment on the border and in command centers.”
The arrival of National Guard units has allowed the Border Patrol to move more agents into front-line positions, and this additional manpower is delivering results, Bush said. With the support of the National Guard, Border Patrol agents have seized more than 17,000 pounds of illegal drugs and caught more than 2,500 illegal immigrants since June 15, he said.
Border security is the beginning of rational and comprehensive immigration reform, so Bush has asked Congress to fund dramatic increases in manpower and technology for the Border Patrol, he said. The government will add 6,000 new Border Patrol agents, build high-tech fences in urban corridors and new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas, and employ motion sensors, infrared cameras, and unmanned aerial vehicles to prevent illegal crossings, he said.
“By deploying 21st century technologies, we will make our Border Patrol agents even more effective and our border more secure,” he said.
To achieve comprehensive immigration reform, the government also must work in four other areas, Bush said. A temporary worker program that will create a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter the country needs to be established; immigration laws need to be enforced at the nation's work sites; the government needs to resolve the status of illegal immigrants who are already in the country; and the U.S. needs comprehensive immigration reform that honors the American tradition of the “melting pot” by helping newcomers assimilate, he said.