The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must continue to use National Guard aviation assets funded through Operation Phalanx.
Responding to an inquiry from Breitbart Texas regarding the DHS shutdown of Operation Phalanx, House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-TX) said, “We must continue to utilize National Guard aviation assets to increase situational awareness and operational control of the border until DHS invests in additional aviation capabilities.”
McCaul joined the growing chorus of Texas leaders in demanding the DHS renew aerial surveillance utilizing National Guard resources already funded by Congress through the end of FY 2017. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), and Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX) sent a letter earlier this week to DHS officials requesting the program’s restart.
“Given the continuing surge of migrants along the Southern Border beyond FY15 numbers and a large uptick in apprehensions already for the month of November 2016, we believe DHS should be requesting more surveillance and security resources, not less,” Governor Abbott, Senator Cornyn and Congressman Cuellar write in the letter. “Given that Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Air and Marine is currently 12 percent below its goal for air interdiction agents this cut in DoD support is extremely imprudent.”
Chairman McCaul followed suit stating, “We cannot let our guard down on our southern border. I have been closely monitoring the National Guard’s efforts to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection through Operation Phalanx,” in an email to Breitbart Texas. “I have been in contact with senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security to ensure funding continues for this vital security and enforcement endeavor, especially in south Texas.”
The Obama Administration appeared to take the occasion of the end of the President’s term to shut down this vital border security resource despite the continuing increase in border crossings and apprehensions of illegal immigrants.
The DHS, which has a history of lying to the public about the actual situation along the Mexican border, asserted that illegal crossing have declined along the Texas-Mexico border, Watchdog reported. Breitbart Texas has provided coverage extensively about the increasing numbers of border crossing apprehensions–particularly Incomplete Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) and Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC).
In the months leading up to the election of President-Elect Donald Trump, illegal immigrants began flooding across the border at record rates. Breitbart Texas reported earlier this month that in October 2016, FMUA apprehensions increased by 37 percent. UAC apprehensions were up by 19 percent, and total apprehensions were up 17 percent.
By all accounts, Operation Phalanx has been an effective tool at helping to keep the border crisis from being even more dramatic that it already is. Watchdog reported that in the Laredo Sector alone, “Operation Phalanx accounted for 10,559 apprehensions and 4,007 ‘turnbacks’ from March 2012 to December 2015. Phalanx was credited with seizing 12,851 pounds of narcotics during the period.”
Taking note of President Obama’s imminent departure from the White House, McCaul said, “I look forward to working with the next administration to finally secure our border.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.
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