Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu said the Obama administration’s decision to extend the deployment of 1,200 U.S. National Guard troops along the U.S. border with Mexico until Sept. 30 is “pandering” and that those numbers “fall far short” of what military power is needed to keep the country safe.Babeu noted, for comparison, the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea to help defend it against North Korean aggression; U.S. troops have been stationed in South Korea for 58 years.
Babeu is the sheriff of Pinal County in southern Arizona and is on the frontlines against illegal immigration, human traffickers, drug smugglers, and potential terrorists. He was named the 2011 National Sheriff of the Year by the National Sheriff’s Association on Sunday, June 19.
“What are we doing?” Babeu told CNSNews.com by telephone. “We need 6,000 armed soldiers on our border to protect America. Homeland Security starts at home.” He was talking about the National Guard.
Babeu said that only 520 guardsmen are deployed in Arizona, a state with a 276-mile border with Mexico and the state that has, according to the Department of Homeland Security, the greatest influx of illegal aliens. In 2010, approximately 212,000 illegal aliens were seized in the Tucson sector of Arizona – or 47 percent of all illegal aliens taken into custody.
“The gravest national security risk that we face is right here with the unsecure border with Mexico,” Babeu said. “Right from the beginning, these 1,200 [National Guard] soldiers fall far short from what’s really, truly needed to achieve a secure border.”
Babeu said that 6,000 troops should be deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border: 3,000 in Arizona and 1,000 in each of the three other border states for a two-year period.
Babeu also said it was “tremendous” to have received the Sheriff of the Year award, which he said he accepted on behalf of the 700 men and women who work with him, the citizens of Arizona and for the state. Babeu added that he believed the work law enforcement is doing in Arizona also played a role.
“I think it has everything to do with us standing up for America, standing up for the rule of law and not being shouted down by the president and his men trying to make like somehow we’re being un-American for enforcing the law and wanting a secure border,” Babeu said.
He said he thinks President Barack Obama has made race the issue instead of fulfilling his job of protecting the American people by enforcing immigration laws.
“It’s not about race, color or national origin,” Babeu said. “It’s about enforcing the law, Mr. President. That’s our job.”
The White House announced last week that it would extend the deployment for the 1,200 National Guard troops for three more months.