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Thursday, June 04, 2009

DHS Sec. Napolitano Announces Almost $4 Million Operation Stonegarden Grant for NM

Portrait_Napolitano_smU.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced FY 2009 Operation Stonegarden grants -- totaling $60 million -- for 13 border states and the Territory of Puerto Rico. The funds will pay for enhancing the capabilities of federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to jointly secure U.S. borders and territories. New Mexico will receive $3,981,414 from the Stonegarden program in FY 2009.

“Operation Stonegarden grants direct critical funding to state, local and tribal law enforcement operations across the country,” said Secretary Napolitano in a statement released today. “I am proud to announce that the 2009 funding provides additional flexibility to ensure that our first responders are equipped with the resources they need to confront the complex and dynamic challenges that exist along our borders.”

According to the DHS, the 2009 allocations reflect President Obama’s increased emphasis on the Southwest border in response to the threats from cartel violence in Mexico. Based on greater risk, heavy cross-border traffic and border-related threat intelligence, nearly 76 percent of Operation Stonegarden funds will go to Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas -- up from 59 percent in fiscal year 2008.

Fiscal year 2009 Operation Stonegarden funds will be used for additional law enforcement personnel, overtime, travel and other related costs in order to further increase DHS’ presence along the borders. This risk-based allocation of resources complements ongoing DHS efforts -- including the Southwest Border Initiative, deployment of surveillance technology along the Northern and Southwest borders, and increased U.S. Border Patrol personnel along the Northern border. By the end of fiscal year 2010, DHS plans to add nearly 700 U.S. Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Canada border.

This year, eligibility for Operation Stonegarden awards was expanded to include 39 applicants -- 24 more than fiscal year 2008—encompassing states with international land and coastal borders.

Secretary Napolitano made the announcement as part of a two-day visit to the Southwest border, during which she joined U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske to unveil the 2009 National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy; announced the formation of the Homeland Security Advisory Council Southwest Border Task Force; and met with state and local law enforcement and first responders to discuss issues affecting Southwest border states. Napolitano is in Arizona today and will appear in Albuquerque at the Student Union at the University of New Mexico on Friday.

Operation Stonegarden is appropriated by the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009. For more information on Operation Stonegarden, visit www.dhs.gov and at www.fema.gov/grants.

June 4, 2009 at 12:29 PM in Border Issues, Homeland Security, Obama Administration | Permalink

Comments

All the pretty words. It sounds like a Drug War escalation. This plan is so open-ended and non-ending and all going in the wrong direction.
Legalization would be cheaper and ruin fewer lives as well as dis-empower the drug cartels.
When they say the border, just how far on OUR side are we going to have to live with more surveillance and monitoring of US citizens.
This goes counter to the desires of the citizens to wind down the Drug War. This country can not afford to squander our money and resources on the Drug War, much less pay to escalate it. I suppose this shift towards a fascist state is considered to be a jobs program.
I'll be looking for positive comments about it on Lou Dobbs (NOT!).
I thought we were already sending Mexico a butt load of bucks this year to escalate the Drug War.
The arms dealers are rubbing their hands together with glee as they sell arms to all sides.
Militarizing the border is nothing but a damn shame and a bottomless pit of money and misery.

Posted by: qofdisks | Jun 4, 2009 2:13:07 PM

I think it's more about border security for people crossing than the drug war but I'm sure the drug war stuff will be in the strategic plan they unveil. Obama is still too chicken to end the drug war by decriminalizing drugs even tho he picked a guy for the drug czar post who pretty much did that in Seattle. I'm not seeing where they're militarizing the border by hiring more border patrol agents.

It is instructive to read the press release language though!

Posted by: Old Dem | Jun 4, 2009 2:40:48 PM