National Guard troops leaving the border in June

Posted on March 16, 2011

Well, it was nice while it lasted. 

The National Guard troops sent to the southern border by President Obama to act as extra “eyes and ears” for the Border Patrol will be leaving, as planned, in June.  Were they effective?  It seems so:

Maj. Gen. Hugo Salazar, adjutant general of the Guard in the state, said that the mission has gone well and that his troops have helped the Department of Homeland Security monitor the border and gather intelligence against the transnational crime cartels that smuggle drugs, weapons and cash across the border.

Matt Chandler, a spokesman for Homeland Security, said Tuesday that soldiers have helped seize over 14,000 pounds of drugs and apprehend 7,000 illegal immigrants. He said the southwestern border today has more enforcement manpower and technology than ever, much of which has been added while the National Guard has been assigned there.

It’s great that the Guard’s mission has been a success, especially when you consider they weren’t allowed to make any apprehensions themselves.  But the questions arises, why are we sending them home when the mission is less costly than originally estimated and the replacement fencing system for the defunct virtual fence won’t be completed in Arizona until 2016 and across the entire southern border until 2021?   Doesn’t it make sense to extend the Guard’s stay, at least in the highly trafficked state of Arizona, until the fencing system is finished? Sending the troops home in June only leaves the border with even spottier coverage than it now has.  Why not keep them there?

Will someone please explain to me again how serious the Obama administration is about border enforcement?