Mexico: 'We have to take care of our own backyard"
Published: March 26, 2009
Yesterday the president said he's considering deploying National Guard troops to the southern U.S. border to help contain violence there, but would not commit to any immediate military move. Texas Gov. Rick Perry called that "a mistake," repeating his call from a month ago for the federal government to pay for for 1,000 additional troops or federal agents to help secure the border.
I just got off the phone with Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus, who offered these thoughts on the issue:
Should the Guard be deployed to the Mexican border?
Right now we shouldnt be ruling out anything. One opportunity we should be thinking about is using the National Guard for inspecting all cargo going south, helping the ATF look for guns heading into Mexico. I think even the folks who are the most against U.S. military on the border would see the value of that. Nobody felt threatened when Mexico deployed its troops to the border. They shouldnt feel threatened if we do the same. We have to be willing to do what it takes to help get this situation under control.
Would those plans stretch the Guard too much?
As we bring back folks from Iraq thats less of an issues. Right now we have a war on our southern border. Itd be a shame if we were willing to fight on the other side of the world but not bother to take care of our own backyard.
When should a decision be made on whether to send troops down south?
Its a time-sensitive situation. We have a problem there now. We should be developing a plan on how to use the Guard right now, whether theyre contribution to the work of the ATF or in another situation. The president just said we dont need any more resources down there but there doesnt seem to be much understanding of the situation there. But were dealing with people who havent spent much time down there. Theyve been distracted by the Middle East when they should be paying attention to our own backyard.