December 15, 2011 10:31 am ET - by Salvatore Colleluori
Tuesday night on Follow the Money, Eric Bolling hosted Pinal County (AZ) Sheriff Paul Babeu to discuss an Obama administration proposal to reduce the number of National Guard troops on the U.S.-Mexico border from its current 1,200 to an undisclosed number. According to Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), that reduction would leave only 14 National Guard troops for the California-Mexico border. Babeu claimed that "President Obama is crying poor mouth" — that he's shirking his duty on "enforcing the rule of law and protecting America" for financial reasons.
BOLLING: The Obama Administration could leave the U.S.- Mexico border more vulnerable than ever before. New proposed cuts leave just 14 — one-four — 14 National Guardsmen on the California border. Joining me now, border warrior Sheriff Paul Babeu. Sheriff, we heard the news today that there is going to be — likely going to be cuts starting in 2012 that would leave California with just 14 border patrol agents for the whole length of their border with Mexico.
BABEU: Right, and get this, that President Obama is crying poor mouth saying that, well we don't have the money. Well, when did he start this? Because that's never been a reason for him not to spend money in every other area of the government and in stimulus and when it comes to, not only border security and enforcing the rule of law and protecting America, here, in our own country, now the president claims this, according to Duncan Hunter, the good congressman from San Diego.
It's disingenuous for Babeu to attack Obama over border security spending. In fact, the Obama administration has increased spending on border protection and enforcement and has doubled the number of border patrol agents since 2004. And attacking President Obama for decreasing National Guard troops also misrepresents the situation. As the Huffington Post explains, the National Guard deployment was only supposed to last for a year, and was already extended once by the president:
President Barack Obama ordered the troops to the border last year to help Border Patrol agents watch for illegal crossers and drug and human smugglers. The first of the 1,200 troops arrived in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in August 2010, and were expected to be in place for about a year. Earlier this year, Obama extended that deployment.
The Guard troops don't have arrest power and have spent much of their time monitoring the 2,000-mile border and alerting Border Patrol agents to suspicious activity. The deployment was to have ended at the end of the year.
Instead of totally getting rid of all the National Guard troops — as was originally intended — the Obama administration is reportedly proposing to remove a portion of them and shift the remaining troops to "focus their efforts on aerial surveillance." The National Guard troops were always supposed to be a temporary measure to "be a bridge to beef up support staffing while the Border Patrol hired more agents," and according to the Houston Chronicle, the "Pentagon has long sought to end the roughly $10 million-a-month National Guard ground operation."
It's clear that Babeu is just looking for a quick way to claim Obama is soft on immigration — a claim that the evidence refutes. But we shouldn't be surprised: Exaggerations and false claims are standard for Babeu.
Copyright © 2010 Media Matters Action Network. All rights reserved.