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- 02-17-2012, 12:30 PM #1
Fort Bliss troops help in border support role
Fort Bliss troops help in border support role
By Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Timeslcsun-news.com
Posted: 02/17/2012 04:24:34 AM MST
Active-duty soldiers were deployed this week from Fort Bliss to assist the Border Patrol in Arizona and New Mexico, officials said Thursday.
Customs and Border Protection officials said the soldiers will function in a support role only.
Although the Joint Task Force-North/Northern Command generally handles such deployments, JTF-North spokesman Armando Carrasco said the Border Patrol alone was authorized to release details on what unit is involved and what the soldiers will do on the border.
Border Patrol officials in the Tucson sector were unavailable for comment late Thursday.
Recent concerns over drug-related violence in Mexico and the potential for spillover violence have prompted U.S. border governors to petition the federal government for military support.
Last year, Arizona sued the federal government for allegedly "failing to gain operational control of the border," according to a statement by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's office.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson both asked for military support because of the threats posed by drug cartels, which are armed with military-grade weapons and equipment.
U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said he does not agree with using the military to do the work of civilian law enforcement.
"I continue to strongly oppose the use of our troops in a law enforcement role on our nation's borders," Reyes said. "Our nation's borders must be patrolled by men and women who have been fully trained for that mission, and we must not limit our focus to border areas between the ports of entry. Rebuilding and improving our land ports of entry is critical to the efficient flow of people and legal goods between the United States and Mexico. "However, as someone who worked with JTF-North (formerly known as JTF-6)," Reyes added, "I appreciate the hard work that goes into planning military training exercises that support counter-narcotics missions on the border and across the nation. These targeted, short-duration missions provide needed training for troops while supporting efforts to combat illegal drugs and transnational threats."
The Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso said that it is opposed to militarizing the border.
"We strongly believe that militarization is not a solution. The deployment of our military within our borders to enforce civil law is controversial," said Cristina Parker, spokeswoman for the network. "The fact is that the military is trained for war and major emergencies, not enforcing civil law."
"The entire concept of deploying the military to the border is based in politics, not the reality of living on the border," Parker said. "Both parties and the Obama administration are all guilty of exploiting lies about the border for political gain."
Critics of such troop deployments point to the 1997 incident in which an 18-year-old student from Redford, Texas, was shot and killed.
A Marine assigned to the then JT-6 fatally shot the teenager who carried a .22-caliber rifle and who was guarding a small herd of goats.
After the shooting, the military suspended its operations in the Border Patrol's Marfa, Texas, sector. The Marine involved in the incident was exonerated, and the deceased boy's family sued the federal government and received a settlement.
JTF-North coordinates the participation of U.S. Title 10 service members -- active duty and reservists -- from the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force.
Its military support missions do not include the National Guard.
Carrasco was able to confirm that a separate deployment of Army engineers arrived in Arizona last month to construct a mile-long road near the Mariposa border crossing in Nogales.
The 40 airborne soldiers who jumped out of an Air Force C-17 airplane belong to the 8th Engineer Support Company, 6th Engineer Battalion (Combat Airborne) in Alaska.
"They are Army airborne engineers who parachuted into Fort Huachuca (Arizona)," Carrasco said. "It's the first time in 10 years that a unit has conducted an airborne mission at that installation."
In addition to having "boots on the ground," U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol, is using drones and other technology to track and intercept smugglers and other security threats along the border.
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6140.
Fort Bliss troops help in border support role (4:24 a.m.) - Las Cruces Sun-NewsNO AMNESTY
DON'T REWARD THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS
BY GIVING THEM CITIZENSHIP
- 02-17-2012, 01:59 PM #2
Not good enough."A Nation of sheep will beget a government of Wolves" -Edward R. Murrow