National Guard border force to be halved; "private contractors" to augment Border Patrol?
Posted Thu, Jul 7, 2007 at 2:54 pm
The number of National Guard troops posted near the southern border nationally and in Arizona will drop by half in September, but federal officials have assured Gov. Janet Napolitano that key personnel will remain... While those numbers will drop by half within the next couple of months, Napolitano said the drawdown will involve troops performing administrative duties, not those conducting surveillance and other security functions... "They're not moving Guard from actual observation posts," Napolitano said Wednesday. "What they're doing is removing people from back-office duties."Meanwhile, from July 7:
The U.S. Border Patrol could dramatically increase its presence on the nation's southern frontier by adding hundreds of private contractors [aka "mercenaries"] to its ranks, according to a proposal presented to Congress last month.
DynCorp International, a Virginia-based military security firm, said it could train and deploy 1,000 private agents to the U.S.-Mexico border within 13 months, offering a quick surge of law enforcement officers to a region struggling to clamp down on illegal immigration.
...So far, the idea has received a tepid response from officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who say their hiring efforts are on schedule.
"That's not even something the Border Patrol would consider," said Ramon Rivera, a Washington-based spokesman for the agency. "We are on track (for hiring) and should be meeting our numbers for 2008."
But the proposal has gained early support from some Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., who introduced a bill last summer that would mandate the addition of 5,000 to 8,000 contract agents.
The bill died in committee, but Rogers may reintroduce it if the Border Patrol fails to meet its hiring goals, his staffers said...