The El Paso border sector, which includes all of New Mexico and two Texas counties, reports an increase of border arrests year-to-date. The Border Patrol Chief testified in Congress last week that overall border arrests were down for the past few months, but news reports usually added that border crossings usually decline at the peak of summer heat.
Meanwhie, in a story about Nevada troops soon to be baking in the Arizona sun, the AP continues to hint that the border deployment is not keeping up to schedule, a claim that has in the past drawn attention from the White House response team. Still, we would love to see the plan for Operation Jump Start so we can judge for ourselves.
We do have an FOI request that has been forwarded to Washington. With all the celebration of guard troops as citizen-soldiers, we hope for a day when citizen-journalists will have value in the eyes of the nation, too.–gm Arrests along N.M.-Mexico border increase
July 27, 2006, 10:56 AM
WASHINGTON — Arrests of would-be illegal immigrants along a section of the Mexican border that includes New Mexico have increased 13 percent in the last 10 months, the U.S. Border Patrol said.
The increase comes as arrests along the entire U.S.-Mexico border have dropped since President Bush ordered the military to help tighten the border.
Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar said Tuesday that New Mexico arrests were up because the area had been shortchanged on resources to fight illegal immigration in the past.
The Border Patrol “had not been able to do a very good job” in the Deming and Lordsburg areas, Aguilar said.
“We just didn’t have any resources,” he said.
Spurred by complaints from New Mexico politicians, the Border Patrol added 305 agents to the El Paso Sector of the border, which includes all of New Mexico and Texas’ two westernmost counties.
Doug Mosier, a spokesman for the El Paso sector, said 1,642 agents are assigned to the sector with plans to raise that number to 1,900 by year’s end.
New Mexico also has 692 of the 4,500 National Guardsmen that Bush ordered deployed to California, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona.
From Oct. 1, the start of the federal fiscal year, through Sunday, 110,217 illegal immigrants were caught in the El Paso sector of the border. That compares with 97,194 arrests during the same period the previous fiscal year.
Along the entire U.S.-Mexican border, Aguilar reported a 45 percent decline in the number of people arrested from May 16, a day after Bush announced he would deploy National Guard troops to the border, to July 23.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said for the last several years he has been urging the Bush administration to deploy more resources to New Mexico’s border.
“I’m glad that the White House has finally recognized that things have, in fact, not been under control and has begun to take the problem seriously,” Bingaman said.
Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., said there has been a “dramatic” change since August, when “high-ranking officials in El Paso seemed unaware and unconcerned about the problem, and unwilling to make significant changes.”
A spokesman for Gov. Bill Richardson says the increased arrests in New Mexico show why the governor declared a state of emergency along the border last year and freed up $1.75 million in state funds to help county law enforcement along the border.
“The National Guard deployment is a helpful stopgap, but the governor still believes that what are needed are additional, permanent Border Patrol agents along the New Mexico border,” Goldstein said.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press.
130 Nev. Guardsmen will arrive Saturday
the associated press
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 07.28.2006
CARSON CITY, Nev. — About 130 members of the Nevada Army and Air National Guard leave Saturday for duty along the Arizona-Mexico border as part of Operation Jump Start, designed to keep illegal immigrants from crossing into the United States.
Members of the 152nd Civil Engineering Squadron, based in Reno, and soldiers from the 150th Maintenance Company based in Carson City and Las Vegas, will travel to several locations in Arizona as part of two- and three-week rotations.
They’ll assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel near Phoenix, Nogales, Tucson and Yuma.
President Bush’s “Jump Start” plan called for 6,000 troops to be on the border in support roles by this weekend. But officials in border states have said the Guard would likely need more time to meet that mark.
Bush has said the mission will free up thousands of officers now on other duties to actively patrol the border. Guardsmen are building fences, conducting routine surveillance and taking care of other administrative duties for the border patrol.
Bush’s plan called for all 50 states to send troops, but not all states immediately signed commitments. Some state officials argued that they couldn’t free up Guard members because of responsibilities in their home states.