Congressmen: Send surplus defense equipment to U.S.-Mexico border

S.TX - rioGrandeGuardian

By Raul de la Cruz
Rio Grande Guardian

McALLEN, TX – A request has been made to U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that he sends surplus equipment returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to the Southern border with Mexico.

The request comes from U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar and Ted Poe, along with 17 border sheriffs from Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. Poe has introduced H.R. 3422 the SEND Act which would direct the Department of Defense to make ten percent of certain equipment returning from Iraq to the Southern border available for use by law enforcement agencies who patrol our southern border.

“We have brought this right to the Secretary of Defense, because border security is a national security issue,” said Poe,” R-Humble. “State and local officials are on the front lines of the southern border fighting to protect Americans from spillover violence from Mexico. They do the best they can with what they’ve got but they are out-manned and out-gunned by the drug cartels and they are desperate for more resources.

Poe said that for years, the American people have invested their money in equipment that has been used to defend the borders of other nations. “It’s time that we use this equipment to secure the United States. I thank Governor Perry for all the work he has done to secure the Texas border and I look forward to working with Secretary Panetta, Rep. Cuellar and the Texas border sheriffs to ensure that law enforcement has the equipment they need to protect our citizens,” Poe said.

Cuellar, D-Laredo, said that it the U.S. wants to boost border security, it has to help law enforcement agencies beef up their resources to meet demand. “We cannot have one without the other,” said Cuellar. “We intend to keep the lines of communication open with the Defense Department so that we can help our border law enforcement agencies navigate the equipment application process. I join Congressman Poe and our border sheriffs to help reinforce collaboration with Secretary Panetta for the betterment of our border communities.”

Cuellar said that over the next several months, a massive draw-down of U.S. Forces in Iraq will occur. More than 1.5 million pieces of equipment have already been shipped out of Iraq over the last year and nearly 900,000 remain. Much of this equipment would be useful to the federal, state and local law enforcement in their efforts to secure the border with Mexico, Cuellar said…

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