President Obama is calling on Congress to take quick action in passing his border security plan that calls for 1,000 new Border Patrol agents. But as Nine On Your Side has learned, if and when Congress approves Obama's border security plan, agents will not arrive on the border until sometime in 2011.
That's one reason the debate over border security continued between two sheriff's with two different strategies on how to secure the border. Santa Cruz County's Tony Estrada wants more border agents. Pinal County's Paul Babeu is calling for soldiers, armed with guns.
But both agree President Obama's border security plan is still not enough. Sheriff Estrada says more customs agents, then just the additional 30 Obama is proposing, are especially needed to stop smugglers from crossing more frequently with bigger drug loads.
Nine On Your Side's Steve Nunez asked, "If you had a say at the table with President Obama what would you ask him for?" Estrada responded, "Number one, have more federal agents down here." Estrada goes on to say the federal government should attack drug smugglers at the point of crossing. Estrada said, "I'm talking about agents to work the ports so we can have better security there. But not necessarily better security but better enforcement and better ability to intercept a lot of drugs and illegal's that are coming through that port with false documents and false I-D's."
President Obama's $500 million border security plan also calls for an additional 20 Customs and Border Patrol canine teams and 160 new ICE agents.
Nine On Your Side has also learned the hiring process from application to screening to training a Border Patrol agent takes a minimum of 8 1/2 months.
Meantime, Sheriff Babeu wants armed soldiers on the border now. Babeu said, "What you need are the soldiers there temporarily until you build and complete the double barrier fence, implement streamline so there's a penalty to crossing the border illegally you're formally deported and then we will enjoy the same security that the Yuma sector California do."
Obama's plan is separate from the 1,200 soldiers he's already promised to send to the border. On Wednesday, Governor Jan Brewer sent a four page letter to the president asking him, in part, for details on his plan to deploy the troops. Brewer is scheduled to meet with Obama's senior staff members next Monday.
The Arizona National Guard also tells Nine On Your Side it has yet to receive official word from Obama on how many of its soldiers will be deployed to the border. In 2006, when President Bush deployed soldiers under Operation Jump Start, it took 14 months to send 6,000 soldiers including supplies and equipment to the border.
Click to view image: 'Pic 1'
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