National Guard to begin reducing border forceHow "dramatically?" Prepare to laugh...
SAN YSIDRO -- As planning begins to reduce the number of National Guard troops along the border with Mexico, less than 1,000 of 6,000 new U.S. Border Patrol agents that the Bush administration wants in place by the end of next year have been hired.
As of March 17, the Border Patrol has only been able to hire and train 593 new agents or 9 percent of the administration's goal, according to Javier Rios, a Border Patrol spokesman in Washington.
Screening new agents and a lengthy training process have resulted in the relatively small number of new hires. By the end of 2008, the administration wants a Border Patrol force of about 18,000 agents, up from the 12,000 in place when the president ordered the troops to the border last June.
Guard commanders in California and other states assigned to the border duty are starting to put together plans to reduce the troop presence.
There were 1,389 members of the California Guard's air and ground units on the border last week, a number that probably will fall to between 1,000 and 1,100 by the fall, said Lt. Col. Jon Siepmann, a Guard spokesman in Sacramento.
"This has always been a temporary mission," he said, adding that the assignment officially ends in December 2008. "Our end strength (later this year) will be based on what the Border Patrol says it needs."
Governors across the nation, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, initially resisted the Guard assignment, saying it came at a time when Guard units and their families were stressed by frequent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
As the border mission has gone on, those assignments haven't waned, and the Defense Department last week said that up to 12,000 Guard troops from four states other than California could be headed to Iraq early in 2008.
The border assignment has been a success, according to the administration and the Border Patrol, which say the number of people trying to enter the U.S. illegally has fallen dramatically.
Along the 60-mile San Diego border sector, apprehensions fell by more than 6,500 people in a 12-month period ending April 1 with 67,926 arrests compared with 74,463 in the previous 12-month period, according to Border Patrol statistics.Note, this "dramatic" figure is for arrests, why is that relevant?
Guidelines issued by U.S. attorneys in Texas showed that most illegal immigrants crossing into the state had to be arrested at least six times before federal authorities would prosecute them, according to an internal Justice Department memo.Hmmm, so how many people tried to cross and how many times? That would seem to be the real question which this statistic neatly sidesteps.
And of course let's not forget...this!
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