>>My name is David Toothman, I’m the patrol agent in charge of
the Santa Teresa Border Patrol station. I’m currently acting
as division chief of operations for El Paso sector Border Patrol. I’d like to thank all of you
for coming out here this morning
on such short notice, and introduce to you
the chief patrol agent of El Paso sector, Aaron A. Hull.>>Morning, ladies and gentlemen. Like Dave said, thank you
for joining us here. I’d also like to recognize
and thank Colonel Hildebrand of the Texas National Guard
for hosting this event. We had the pleasure of meeting with
Colonel Hildebrand and General Chaney earlier this week, talking about Texas
Guard capabilities, and also had the chance
to meet with General Bump, New Mexico National Guard
a little earlier this week as well. We are blessed here
in El Paso sector to be able to work with both
the Texas National Guard and the New Mexico
National Guard, and we’ve had a great relationship
with both for many years. We’ve already conducted our initial
planning and coordination meetings. We’re in the process
of completing our site surveys for their deployment, and have begun in the vetting
process for the individuals that are going to be
working with us. We are going to move
into the next phase, as we continue that, we’re going
to begin to schedule training for the Guard personnel that are
going to be working with us, helping them to
operate our systems, our surveillance systems,
our cameras, radios, sensors. Helping us to maintain
our infrastructure and our fleet, providing the logistical
and support capabilities that will enable us to do our law
enforcement mission on the border. Now ladies and gentlemen,
it’s my pleasure to introduce Ronald D. Vitiello. Chief Vitiello is chief of
the United States Border Patrol and the acting deputy commissioner
of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He’s going to provide
a strategic overview of the National Guard
deployment and their role in helping us to maintain border
security here in the United States. Thank you.>>Thank you, chief. Thank you, Colonel,
for your hospitality. And thank you all
for being here today. I’d like to discuss a little bit about
our activation of the National Guard on behalf of U.S. Customs
and Border Protection, and the DHS mission. CBP has one of the most complex
law enforcement missions in the world. Part of that mission,
as the name suggests, is protecting the border,
nearly 7500 miles of land border, as well as thousands of
square miles of coastal waters. Our country’s border with Mexico
is critically important. Economically the stakes are high;
1.45 billion per day in two-way trade, nearly one million people legally cross between the United States
and Mexico every day. While we manage the efficient
flow of lawful trade and travel across the borders, we are equally committed
to national security. As DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says, border security is national security. That’s an undeniable fact, and that’s why we are
building more infrastructure, seeking new hires
and applying new technologies that ensure our agents and officers have the resources
they need to do their jobs. More than a thousand people a day, nearly 300,000 per year
illegally enter the country. That’s not acceptable. So we appreciate the support we have
received from this administration. On April 4th, the president
directed CBP’s parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense
to work with the nation’s governors to activate the National Guard personnel and bring them to the Southwest border. DHS and the Department of Defense
work well together. We partnered for decades with the DOD
on counter-narcotics missions, infrastructure construction,
surveillance operations, training and aerial support
throughout the Western hemisphere. The National Guard will perform
many operational support functions, including monitoring cameras
and sensor feeds to assist with overall situational
awareness on the border, and they will provide
much needed aerial support, and we anticipate they will help
with roads and vehicle maintenance, among other duties. National Guard members will provide
added surveillance, engineering, administrative and mechanical support to agents on the front line. The Guard will immediately expand
our capabilities at the border, which will increase our effectiveness
in our law enforcement operations. To be clear, border security will remain a civilian law enforcement
capability and responsibility. The National Guard will serve
in support of that capacity, but not be directly involved
in enforcement roles. CBP and our colleagues across DHS are working tirelessly
to secure the border and bring it into
operational control. Our apprehensions in fiscal year 2017
were at the lowest level in 45 years. That said, we have experienced
a significant increase over the past 12 months, a 1200 percent increase
in apprehensions, including significant increases
in the number of family units and unaccompanied children. This uptick underscores that in order
for us to truly secure the border, we need the support
of the National Guard. We need a border wall in our
most vulnerable locations. We need infrastructure,
technology and more agents. We also need legislative reform
to close immigration loopholes. Current loopholes
in the immigration law pertaining to family units
and unaccompanied children have created a dramatic pull
for illegal immigrants and an influx of funds for the
transnational criminal organizations. They benefit by funneling
migrants into the nation illegally. It’s dangerous for parents to place
the lives of their children into the hands of smugglers and
transnational criminal organizations, who have no respect
for human life. Our officers and agents
have heard many testimonies of the evil perpetrated
against these migrants. Under the leadership
of the president, we have a renewed commitment
from the White House to bring operational
control to the border and invest in border security. This is a strong mission
that CBP can do and better support
our border and the nation. CBP lives up to its name
each and every day; our agents, our officers
at our ports of entry, along our thousands
of miles of border, and we are thoroughly committed
to enforcing our nation’s laws and protecting the homeland. I couldn’t be prouder of the brave men
and women of our front line. Thank you for being here.>>Take any questions?>>How many National Guardsmen
do you expect [INAUDIBLE] New Mexico?
And whether it’s cost effective?>>So not clear on the cost
on the national deployment. It’s up to four thousand, is the
planning number that we’re working with. Then locally, I think
the chief has some –>>Yeah, we’re still
finalizing those plans. We’re still conducting our site surveys and taking a look at the people
we’re going to need and where we’re going to need them. We should know very soon.
But we don’t have a number for you yet.>>Chief a follow-up on that. Are there specific missions
for the El Paso sector that might be a little bit
different than other sectors that they will need the Guard for?>>Well, yes. I think
that’s to be expected. The difference in the needs along
the Southwest border from San Diego to Brownsville
are going to be quite different. I mean, we’ve got a desert terrain. They’re looking further east
at a river situation. The capabilities that
the Guard can bring to bear in all of these locations
are important to us, and we’re assessing our particular
needs based upon the resources we have in each individual location. The resources we’re looking
at here in El Paso sector, like I said, are surveillance
capabilities, camera, support. People to monitor our sensors –>>Will the Guardsmen be involved at all
in construction on barriers?>>That’s not the plan at this time. We’ve got — there’s a lot of —
infrastructure entails a lot of things. We’ve been referring to a lot this week,
and specifically in terms of wall. But there are a lot of border roads, a lot of features
in the border environment that we have to traverse
to get back and forth from the line. And they can assist us
with some of those.>>What [INAUDIBLE]
deployed to Big Bend sector? If so, will they be deployed
to Big Bend National Park?>>Big Bend sector will partake in the
support that the Guard’s given us. They have a mission
requirement as well. As far as the park is concerned,
I just don’t know.>>Do you know how many
will be deployed –>>We haven’t finalized the plans. When the plans are ready and signed off
on by both the Guard Bureau, the departments and us, then we’ll be
able to give you a specific number.>>When will they — or are they
already here? When will they arrive?>>There are a few people here. There’s a planning cell both at
the headquarters and Washington, D.C. The chief has members
of a planning cell that are sitting down with folks
from Border Patrol and the Guard to design the operational plan
and certify the requirements.>>The Guard [INAUDIBLE] El Paso sector [INAUDIBLE]?>>No. We’ve got a relationship with
the Texas Guard going back many years. I mean, if you look at the previous
deployments under several presidents, you look at the counter drug efforts
they’ve assisted us with, we have a longstanding relationship. And this is really
the next phase of that.>>And will that be for that
[INAUDIBLE] ports of entry [INAUDIBLE]?>>We’re discussing that now
with the Guard. We feel like there is some work
that can be done in helping facilitate trade
and cargo searches. The plans for that will be
in a subsequent iteration of a request we make
through the department.>>Over here. Yes, sir?
>>Commissioner, some of the governors [INAUDIBLE]. Who gets
[INAUDIBLE]? How do you coordinate that
from your offices to the Guard office?>>What CBP and DHS have done
is designed a request for assistance that gets vetted by the Pentagon,
the Department of Defense, and it goes to the Guard Bureau. And then that is translated
and communicated to the governors. And they are the final arbiter
of the chain of command to design which of their troops
will be utilized in which mission. So the governors are
very important partners, and we thank them for their support.>>We have time for two more questions.
>>[INAUDIBLE]?>>As soon as we get the refined
request for assistance, we design the missions,
communicate with the states and get their approval to deploy. Then you’ll start
to see them in the field.>>Commissioner, a follow-up.
A video surfaced this week of some, will we process, not process
with the Mexican Consulate the Border Patrol
the people come back into Mexico, following all the procedures,
[INAUDIBLE]. What have we done to —
on that front? Is that a policy that we have of
how we would [INAUDIBLE].>>I’m aware of the incident
that you spoke about on the video. The CBP has a statement out on that.
I’ll refer you to that.>>Yes, sir. Last question.>>Do you know how long
this deployment is going last? Is there an idea of the time
[INAUDIBLE]?>>We don’t have an end date in mind. We do have this goal
to obtain operational control on the order that was given to us
in the legislation back in 2006. It was reiterated by the president
in January last year in some of the executive orders. So once we have a condition
that we can explain to you, the public and ourselves,
that’s the conditions-based deployment. When that is certified, that’s when
we’re going to talk about draw-down.>>All right. Thank you all for coming.
Appreciate it.>>Thank you.

Tagged : # # # # # #

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *