Congressman Introduces Bill to Force Obama to Deploy at Least 10,000 National Guardsmen at Mexican Border

October 4, 2010 - 5:51 PM

Rep. Ted Poe

Rep. Ted Poe (R.-Texas) has introduced legislation that would mandate that President Barack Obama deploy 10,000 National Guard troops at the U.S-Mexico border. (Congressional photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Ted Poe (R.-Texas), who served for 30 years as a Texas prosecutor and judge before being elected to Congress, introduced legislation last week designed to force President Barack Obama to deploy a minimum of 10,000 National Guard troops at the U.S. Mexico border for the specific purpose of patrolling the border and intercepting aliens and smugglers attempting to cross illegally into the United States.

The legislation would allow the president to deploy more than 10,000 National Guardsmen, but not fewer, and would leave the National Guard troops under the supervision of the governor in the border state where they are deployed.

“The president could put more than that, but he must put 10,000,” Poe told CNSNews.com. “The uniqueness of this is they would be paid by the federal government, because everybody says it is the responsibility of the federal government to protect the border. So the federal government will use the resources it already has to pay for those 10,000 National Guard troops, but they will be supervised by the governors of the four states on the border.”

Poe, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism and the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, told CNSNews.com in a videotaped interview that America was projecting such a weak image around the world in failing to protect its southern border that people were traveling from all around the world to Mexico so they could enter the U.S. illegally from there.

“Every country in the world knows the United States will not protect the sovereignty of its country, and will not protect especially the southern border,” said Poe. “So, when someone wants to come to the United States, they figure out a way to come to Mexico and then come to the United States.”

Poe said that the 1,200 National Guard troops that Obama sent to the 2,000-mile-long border region this summer are not actually working to secure the border.

“They are not on the border, they are behind the border,” said Poe. “They’re doing surveillance work, guarding computers, if you will.”

By contrast, the 10,000 National Guardsmen that would be deployed by Poe’s bill would be charged with defending the border itself. “These troops will be actually on the border and they will do what the National Guard is supposed to do,” Poe told CNSNews.com.

When asked if the legislation will give these National Guard the authority to actually intercept illegal aliens coming across the border, Poe said that it would. “They will have the authority to do that,” he said. “The rules of engagement are in the legislation to say that they will intercept. They will act, as with the Border Patrol, to stop people from crossing into the United States."

A statement about the legislation released by Poe said that it will authorize the National Guard deployed at the border to engage in: “Armed vehicle and foot patrols of the U.S. southern border; interdiction of a vehicle, vessel, aircraft or other similar activities; search, seizure, and detention of suspects; construction of roads, fences, and vehicle barriers; search and rescue operations; intelligence gathering, surveillance, and reconnaissance; aviation support.”

The bill has 20 original co-sponsors. But, so far, has no Democratic co-sponsors. The original co-sponsors are: Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21), Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32), Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22), Rep. Sam Johnson (TX-03), Rep. John Carter (TX-31), Rep. Kay Granger (TX-12), Rep. Kenny Marchant (TX-24), Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04), Rep. Ed Royce (CA-40), Rep. Joe Barton (TX-06), Rep. John Culberson (TX-07), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-08), Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10), Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06), Rep. Pete Hoekstra (MI-02), Rep. John Shadegg (AZ-03), Rep. John Fleming (LA-04), Rep. Sam Graves (MO-06) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher  (CA-46).

Poe said he hopes the next Congress will act on his legislation next year.