A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday called on President Barack Obama to deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to help stem outbreaks of violence there and secure the vast swath of land between the two countries.
In their letter to the White House, the lawmakers said the Border Patrol officers currently lack the support and resources they need to combat the constant security threats posed by illegal immigrants and drug traffickers.
We urge the Administration to take action to address this growing national security threat on our southern border, the lawmakers wrote. Without swift and decisive action, it is our fear that this violence will only increase in severity and scope.
Lawmakers signing on to the letter include Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas), Dan Burton (R-Ind.), Harry Teague (D-N.M.), Kay Granger (R-Texas), John Carter (R-Texas), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), Sam Johnson (R-Texas), John Culberson (R-Texas), Joe Barton (R-Texas), Michael Burgess (R-Texas), John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Ralph Hall (R-Texas).
Border Patrol and local sheriffs on the border are out-manned, out-gunned and out-financed, Poe told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.
Our border is not secure, Giffords said.
Obama told a town hall meeting in Iowa on Tuesday that he supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes protecting the border but did not indicate whether he would push Congress to take up the issue this year.
The letter comes as Arizonas controversial immigration law, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) last week, continued to fuel both sides of the immigration debate.
The new law requires law enforcement to ask individuals for proof of their immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is in the country illegally.
Asked if she supported the measure, Giffords said the law reflected the level of frustration felt by Arizonans because the federal government has failed to secure the border.
It is a response, she said.
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