Border Patrol & National Guard Kick Off Operations, But Critics Unimpressed
by Jim Kouri, CPP
This past week, US Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector received the initial deployment of Texas National Guardsmen in support of Operation Jumpstart, according to a report to the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
“The Border Patrol remains steadfast in our commitment to gain operational control of our borders and the deployment of Texas National Guard personnel will move us rapidly forward on that commitment,” Chief Patrol Agent Lynne M. Underdown said in a written statement.
“With the addition of National Guardsmen, Border Patrol Agents who are currently working in administrative, logistical and support duties will return to the front line protecting our nation's border-protecting our community,” Chief Underdown said.
“The Texas National Guard and the Border Patrol once again demonstrate to the nation that we are here for the citizens of our country-standing ready to support the security of the border,” stated Colonel Robert I. Canon, Joint Forces Texas Law Enforcement Support-Border Support, Task Force Commander Texas National Guard.
The intent of Operation Jumpstart is a short-term measure that allows the Border Patrol to increase deterrence and border security capabilities while additional Border Patrol Agents are trained at the academy. National Guard units will assist the Border Patrol by performing a myriad of functions such as logistical and administrative support, operating detection systems, augmenting border-related intelligence analysis efforts and provide training, officials said.
With the Texas National Guard providing this support, Border Patrol agents will be free to concentrate on border enforcement. This will hopefully result in more apprehensions and deportations, but some observers believe that this joint strategy is not enough to turn the tide of what they see as an intensive invasion of the United States.
Proponents, however, say that Operation Jumpstart is a bridge to the internal buildup that the Border Patrol is currently undergoing. Up to 6,000 Border Patrol agents will be hired by the end of calendar year 2008, increasing Border Patrol staffing to approximately 18,300 agents nationwide.
But critics complain 18,000 agents are far from enough, pointing to the fact that one city's (New York) police department has well over 40,000 sworn members and thousands of civilian support staff. Americans who believe that border security requires at least a Border Patrol equal in size to New York's police department believe that any discussion of "guest worker" or other immigration programs should cease until US borders are under control.
Meanwhile, rank-and-file Border Patrol agents themselves aren't that enthusiastic with the current climate in Washington, DC regarding proposed legislation. They say that many political leaders espouse a defeatist attitude toward border security.
For instance, they point to politicians such as Sen. John McCain, a presidential hopeful, and his comments. The Border agents say, through their union that "Amnesty John" McCain's recent dramatic statement that illegal aliens would begin "parachuting" into the United States if the US made it too hard for them to cross on the ground, may sound cute and is a nice soundbite, but it displays defeatism where none in warranted and is intellectually dishonest.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.