The intelligence reform bill passed last year authorized 10,000 new border patrol agents over the next 5 years nearly doubling the number of agents patrolling our borders. The bill did not include funding for the new agents and it looks like the Bush administration will not be allocating funding for the 2,000 agents authorized for fiscal year 2006.
The 9/11 commission recommended the staffing increase in agents.
I initially reported on this in my December 17, 2004 entry "Congress Passes Law To Nearly Double Size Of Border Patrol But Allocates No Money"
President Bush is expected to seek an increase of only about 200 agents for the new fiscal year, according to law-enforcement authorities and others, significantly short of the 2,000 per year authorized for each of the next five years in the recently passed intelligence overhaul bill.
Agents on a 260-mile stretch of Arizona-Mexico border, known as the Tucson sector, are being assaulted at a rate of once every two days, according to Border Patrol statistics.
Mr. Ridge, who has resigned ... referred to the intelligence bill authorization of 10,000 agents as "fool's gold," saying it would be an inefficient use of Homeland Security funds.
"Foreign terrorists continue to pose an extreme threat to the safety of our nation, and illegal immigration remains out of control," said [T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC)], a 27-year Border Patrol veteran.
He also described as "unwise" a Bush plan to substitute $64 million for sensors and surveillance technology and $10 million for unmanned aerial vehicles instead of increasing the number of agents, saying, "While such technology can be useful in pinpointing the location of those who cross our borders illegally, it cannot catch a single violator.
"As long as our borders remain porous, they are just as open to terrorists and other criminals as they are to illegal aliens," he said.
With the regular attacks on Border Patrol agents, the State Department travel warning for northern Mexico
and a recent plot to kidnap and murder FBI agents on the Texas-Mexico border
you'd think the President would care enough about these brave men on our border to give them the support and staff they need. You'd be wrong though.
The Counterterrorism Blog
The Law and Terrorism Blog
Emergent Chaos has some comments on the Secure Flight system.