Archive for Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sebelius wary of new call

May 16, 2006


If Kansas National Guard units are among those called to help patrol the Mexican border, they have the manpower for the job, but the Iraq War has taken its toll on the Guard's equipment.

"We could do it. We have the people, but nobody has called us up and said, 'Hey, this is what you're going to do," said Joy Moser, spokeswoman for the Kansas Adjutant General's Department, which oversees the Kansas Guard.

Earlier Monday, however, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius questioned President Bush's expected evening announcement that he would call up thousands of National Guard troops to augment the U.S. Border Patrol's efforts.

"If you take that number of National Guard troops out of home commitments at a time where we're looking for tornadoes and hurricanes and other natural disasters, I really think that leaves states in a much more compromised situation," Sebelius said.

The Kansas Guard currently has slightly fewer than 1,000 troops deployed in Iraq and other locations around the world, Moser said. That is down from about 2,200 deployed last fall, she said. Subtracting current commitments, the Army and Air Guard in Kansas have a total of about 6,700 troops available for other assignments.

The Kansas Guard has had to leave some of its equipment behind in Iraq and is low on Humvees and big trucks. Some engineering equipment also was left, Moser said. Whether that would cause a problem for border duty would depend on the assignment.

"We have no clear picture," Moser said.

Sebelius also said she didn't know what the president's speech would mean for Kansas Guardsmen and that she had not been contacted by the White House.

Kansas Guard units do have soldiers who speak Spanish, but it wasn't clear Monday how many, Moser said. The state has had enough Spanish-speaking Guard personnel to handle past missions in South America, she said.

If Kansas Guardsmen are called on, they may have to go through additional training, said Lee Tafanelli, a state representative from Ozawkie who also is a lieutenant colonel and commander of the Guard's 891st Engineer Battalion. Tafanelli and his unit spent last year in Iraq.

Since the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guard units have sometimes been deployed for missions that were different from the ones they were initially trained to do.

"What happens is they will run through a training program on those skill sets you are going to have to need," Tafanelli said. "I don't think it would be all that difficult. I think it's more of a manpower issue."

Sending National Guard troops to the border will accomplish little, predicted Ray Rojas, who represents Migrant Worker Solidarity of Lawrence. A native of the Mexican border town of El Paso, Texas, Rojas said the military had been called on to assist the Border Patrol in the past.

"To me it just looks like the president is putting on a show," Rojas said. "There already is a lot of law enforcement down there."

Not all of the border is a vast desert. Many border towns, including El Paso, split their neighborhoods along the border, with residential subdivisions on both sides. A show of force won't go over well with people on either side of those neighborhoods, he said.

"There needs to be a more humane way for people to migrate here," Rojas said.


KsTwister 11 years, 10 months ago

Why send them at all? They will not be allowed to really help when they get to the Border. They Commander in Chief wants them to sit on their butts and do nothing................just like him.

lunacydetector 11 years, 10 months ago

if the president hasn't contacted sebelius, why is she commenting about this anyway? isn't it going to be 8-9,000 guard troops for a year along the border anyway?

people who want to immigrate need to legally enter OUR country. having an armed mexican military escorting drug dealers across the border needs to be stopped as well. THAT was a scary sight (shown on the national news).

satchel 11 years, 10 months ago

I think Bush did an excellent job last night. It is these lunatic liberals like KsTwister who have bought into the idea that Bush has caused everything from Katrina to 9-11. Yes, it is Bush's fault that 12 million illegal immigrants are here now.. Where were the libs whining about this during the Clinton and Regan years? Why now?? BECAUSE OF THE UPCOMING ELECTION! This is Bush's weak spot but not because of HIM, it is because of America not doing anything about it for the last 20 years. SO.. We have put the onus on Bush to FIX IT! How in the heck do you fix it?? WHERE ARE THE LIBERAL'S ANSWERS???

WHAT IS SEBELIUS' ANSWER TO ALL THIS?? All the liberals can do is bash anything the republicans come up with to make it better. THe republicans in congress are the ones coming up with the ideas to fix it, not the liberals.. They are just whining about it and trying to blame it all on the conservatives. IT is totally disgusting, so if you libs want to keep drinking the liberal koolaid go right ahead.. Bush is taking a stand and is doing a much better job of being an HONORABLE leader than any of the liberals we have had in office.

The liberals HAVE NO ANSWERS... NO IDEAS, except wanting their power back, and are lying and scheming to brainwash the idiots in this country that Bush is a scandolous president and lies all the time. The funny thing is, is that every time they try to pin something on Bush, they FAIL!! Nothing has stood up! HA!! Keep trying!

christie 11 years, 10 months ago

Liberals in this country are concerned about the illegal immigrants and their exploitation. However, we believe the country has much larger issues right now and we believe the use of National Guard Troops to protect the borders is both a waste of time and money.

We'd rather see enforcement of current law against employers who hire them. Particularly Republican Employers.

bankboy119 11 years, 10 months ago

All politicians, no matter what party, look for quick fixes to long term problems. They keep passing the problem to the next in line. The national debt, immigration, infrastructure, education, the list goes on.

What's the solution to the economy? Cut taxes so people are happy and I keep my job. What about the national debt? Well when that comes to be a REAL problem I won't be in office so it doesn't matter.

What about illegal immigration? We'll try to cut the number of illegals entering by 1/2 by putting troops on the border. What if there aren't enough troops? Well I'll be out of office soon so some one else can deal with it.

What about the 12 million+ illegals already here? Let's naturalize them so they can vote for me party. What about the drain to the economy? Well I won't be in office so it doesn't matter.

No party has an answer.

Jamesaust 11 years, 10 months ago

National Guard troops on the border - now if that isn't a quick fix then I don't know what is. All-in-all, not a bad speech by W. - full of things like compromise and nuance, which is probably why his base won't listen. They know one fact that the Democrats haven't discovered - W can be bullied.

Of course, you could just require that someone present an unforgeable I.D. when applying for a job so the employer could tell who was 'legal.' But that would raise concerns about privacy. And the first voices to raise that concern are precisely the ones pooh-pooh-ing any concerns about warrantless wiretapping and records of billions of telephone calls by loyal, law-abiding Americans being gathered by unaccountable secret agencies (the largest database ever contructed by human beings, btw).

What's more, such an effort would no doubt end up like this example of GOP graft and corruption:

junco_partner 11 years, 10 months ago

Sebelius is opposed, but not for the reasons she is stating publicly. Her whole reason is not wanting to anger the hispanic voter base. All you have to do is look at her record on hispanic issues and you will see it's true. She has more rally's at the state house for hispanics than any other group, she passed legislation giving illigal immigrants children in state tuition. She knows where her votes come from and its pure politics motivating her.

KsTwister 11 years, 10 months ago

Satchel, you know as less than I gave you credit for previously. But obviously you do think Bush is the greatest. As the Republican party changed itself, anyone who touts this as the best America has to offer cannot beat themselves out of a wet paper bag. As the Declaration says,"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." That is the movement America needs. So kiss off.

staff04 11 years, 10 months ago

A repost of some relevant facts that I posted yesterday:

When Congress passed the Intelligence Reform Act in 2004, they mandated that an additional 2000 border patrol agents be added. Bush's budget this year requested funding for 210 agents.

It also mandated 8000 detention beds, and to date only 1800 have been funded.

some facts from DHS and DOJ:

The number of those apprehended and detained at the border declined from an average of 1.52 million between FY1996 and FY2000, to 1.05 million between FY2001 and FY2004 a 31% decrease.

The number of illegal immigrants apprehended in the interior of the country (all states except Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of California which are included in the border figures above), declined from an average of 40,193 between FY1996 to FY2000, to 25,901 between FY2001 and FY2004 a 36% decrease.

Actions against employers are down from a peak of close to 8,000 during the Clinton years, to an average of less than 2,200 in FY2003. In fact, in FY2004, the Justice Department obtained only 46 convictions for employer violations of immigration laws.

Under this Administration, we have seen enforcement of immigration laws take a pretty big hit.

SO, satchel, who do we blame if we can't blame the leader who presided over it all?

Godot 11 years, 10 months ago

"Of course, you could just require that someone present an unforgeable I.D. when applying for a job so the employer could tell who was 'legal."

I believe that is part of the President's plan. So, when do we line up to get our new national ID cards, the ones with the DNA samples imbedded?

armyguy 11 years, 10 months ago

Where do I sign up for this tour? Sounds a lot better than another Iraq tour. Better brush up on my spanish.
Tengo sed. Dónde puedo conseguir una buena cerveza?

Hay una taberna cerca?

Quisiera una cerveza, por favor.

Los amo muchachos! Puedo comprarle otra cerveza?

Godot 11 years, 10 months ago

I don't think it will be viewed as a "tour." The plan is for the guards who aren't on active duty to spend their two week training commitment on the border.

Gov. Sebelius, I don't think you have been paying attention. The border problem is real, and the invasion is happening now. I'd rather see our "weekend warriors" spend their two weeks in training on the border than have them sit around and wait for a tornado that may or may not strike.

By the way, when was the last time thousands of Kansas guardsmen were used to clean up after a tornado, anyway?

KsTwister 11 years, 10 months ago

If an employer could not and would not hire anyone without a work visa or a legal immigrant then who would die first: those in the desert for several days or those who could not afford to stay here. Blame your corporations and companies for this one,meanwhile lose your wages when you refuse to take a job that use to pay 12.00 hr but now pays 5.15. Yes they do jobs Americans won't do----Now, but they use to do them all until the wages got so low they could not. Throw all the tea in Boston Harbor but this time make it your Congressmen.

armyguy 11 years, 10 months ago

Godit, Guard troops are used in the state think Lawrence tornado, (there), Tonganoxie about 2000-01. I have been at tronado's, floods etc. They are also used for a lot of other state things besides tornado's ie. Topeka's Brown v Board thing a couple of years ago, there were a few hundrend guard troops there. It just doesn't make headlines.

Godot 11 years, 10 months ago

armyguy, thanks. I still would imagine the state could contribute 50 or 100 to the border watch.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.