Law­maker wants 50,000 troops to be de­ployed at borders

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jerry Seper

Ge­or­gia Rep. Char­lie Nor­wood, a critic of Pres­i­dent Bush’s ef­forts to se­cure U.S. borders, wants the ad­min­is­tra­tion to de­ploy 50,000 troops to guard Amer­ica’s south­ern and north­ern borders.

“For those who say that de­ploy­ing tens of thou­sands of sol­diers to se­cure our 7,000 to­tal miles of border is un­re­al­is­tic, please ex­plain our post­ing 37,000 troops for 50 years to se­cure 155 miles of South Korea’s border,” Mr. Nor­wood said.

Mr. Nor­wood, a Repub­li­can who un­suc­cess­fully has sought the pas­sage of leg­is­la­tion to give 600,000 state, lo­cal and tribal po­lice of­fi­cers author­ity to en­force fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion law, said Mr. Bush’s de­ploy­ment in May of 6,000 Na­tional Guard troops on the south­west­ern border is a “weak re­sponse” to the flood of il­le­gal aliens.

The con­gress­man said the Min­ute­man Project’s civil­ian border pa­trols proved that il­le­gal aliens can be kept out with an ad­e­quate show of man­power.

“The Amer­i­can peo­ple want the borders se­cured,” Mr. Nor­wood said, de­rid­ing ef­forts by the ad­min­is­tra­tion and law­mak­ers to grant worker sta­tus, in­stead, to mil­lions of il­le­gals who are in the United States.

“They want ex­ist­ing laws vig­or­ously en­forced against crim­i­nal aliens, il­le­gal im­mi­grants and their em­ploy­ers,” he said. “Then they are will­ing to dis­cuss what to do about il­le­gal aliens al­ready in the coun­try.”

Mr. Nor­wood’s staff helped in a House in­ves­ti­ga­tion last year that found the gov­ern­ment could sus­tain the Min­ute­man Project’s suc­cess by de­ploy­ing 36,000 to 48,000 Na­tional Guard troops or state mili­tia on the border to work with the U.S. Border Pa­trol. He said Mr. Bush “could make it hap­pen” with an ex­ec­u­tive or­der.

“A 50,000-man call-up is 20,000 less than he called up for [Hur­ri­cane] Ka­t­rina last year, so it is a very re­al­is­tic num­ber,” he said, adding that it would take a week to get the troops on the line.

Mr. Nor­wood said the de­ploy­ment would cost $2.5 bil­lion a year, less than 4 per­cent of the min­i­mum $70 bil­lion a year the na­tion spends for the health care, ed­u­ca­tion and in­car­cer­a­tion costs of il­le­gal aliens.

The six-term con­gress­man said that since the House in­ves­ti­ga­tion, for­mer U.S. Cus­toms and Border Pro­tec­tion Com­mis­sioner Robert C. Bon­ner and Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger have es­ti­mated the num­ber of aux­il­iary troops nec­es­sary at 50,000. He said that Texas Gov. Rick Perry put the num­ber at 60,000 and that the Her­itage Foun­da­tion called for a force of at least 48,000.

“Pres­i­dent Bush re­sponded [. . . ] by or­der­ing 6,000 Na­tional Guard to the south­ern border,” he said. “The size of the de­ploy­ment is a frac­tion of what’s nec­es­sary to do the job right. It sim­ply will take that many sol­diers posted on the 2,000-mile border with Mex­ico to stop this cri­sis.”

Mr. Nor­wood said that if Mr. Bush and oth­ers think the coun­try can­not sus­tain a de­ploy­ment of 50,000 Na­tional Guard troops, he should call for vol­un­teers from the Civil Air Pa­trol, U.S. Coast Guard Aux­il­iary, U.S. Naval Mili­tia, state de­fense forces and re­serve forces.

“As soon as we can dou­ble the cur­rent size of our Border Pa­trol, and in­stall new tech­nol­ogy and in­fra­struc­ture, we can grad­u­ally turn border se­cu­rity back over to the Border Pa­trol alone,” he said.

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