Federally Funded "Border Militia" Proposed
LAST UPDATE: 10/4/2005 9:48:06 PM
Posted By: Jim Forsyth
Several border area Congressmen said Tuesday they're preparing to introduce a measure calling for a federally funded, sworn border militia to patrol the country's borders and assist the U.S. Border Patrol, the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and other federal border security agencies, 1200 WOAI news reported today.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) says the proposal calls for the federal government to spend $100 million over several years to hire, train, and equip 'reserve deputies,' who would patrol the border under the authority of border county sheriffs.
Cuellar said the measure is in response to the activities of the Minutemen and other civilian groups which have recently encamped in border areas of Texas and Arizona, and claimed to be helping report illegal immigrant activity.
"These people would be trained, they would be sworn, they would be inside the law enforcement chain of command, and this would be a lot different than the Minutemen, who are out there on their own, and we don't know who they are or what their motives are," Cuellar said.
Other members of Congress who Cuellar says have signed on as co sponsors include Republicans John Culbertson and Henry Bonilla, both of Texas. he said he expects to obtain additional co-sponsors before the measure is introduced, which he expects to occur before the end of October.
Cuellar says the members of the militia would be 'reserve deputies.' He says they could be retired law enforcement officers, or part time officers who work on an as needed basis at the command of local officials.
"Those sheriffs would work arm in arm with the Border Patrol to provide security along the border."
Cuellar says how the reserve officers would be deployed, what their duties would be, and whether they would be armed would be up to the local officials and would be handled according to the laws in place in each jurisdiction.
He says the militia would have a decided advantage over the Minutemen, whom Cuellar said he 'doesn't want' in Texas. Cuellar said most of the Minutemen are untrained volunteers from out of the area, and the reserve deputies would have to be residents of the county where they would be deputized.
"They know the trails," he said. "They know the area because they have been doing this kind of work for a long time."
Cuellar unveiled his proposal at a time when several hundred Minutemen volunteers are engaged in a border watch operation in Brooks County, in rural south Texas.