News Releases

 (Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) signed on to a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano urging ongoing support for existing and future operations along the northern border. This letter comes after President Obama’s recent decision to assign 1,200 National Guard troops to southern border security and the recent Customs and Border Protection (CBP) standup of additional Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) operations out of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Also signing the letter were Senators Kent Conrad, Carl Levin, Max Baucus, Byron Dorgan, Mike Crapo, Maria Cantwell, Jon Tester, Olympia Snowe, Debbie Stabenow, Bernie Sanders, and James Risch.

 “Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and the border security of the United States is no exception,the Senators wrote to Napolitano. “Our northern border should not be a weak link in our homeland defense.  While the two regions face distinct challenges requiring unique approaches, we need to make sure that both of America’s borders are secure, not just the southern one. We support strong CBP operations along the southern border to combat illegal immigration and secure the border.  However, we strongly oppose boosting southern operations by taking critical Border Patrol agents, CBP funding, and in particular limited assets, like Predator B and other aircraft, away from the northern border.”

The letter recognizes the distinct challenges that both regions face, but highlights the blatant imbalance that exists between the two regions with regard to border security, an issue which Senator Murray has long been outspoken about.

The full text of the letter appears below:

The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528 

Dear Secretary Napolitano:

In light of the President’s decision to assign 1,200 National Guard troops to southern border security and request an additional $500 million for border protection and law enforcement activities, and the recent Customs and Border Protection (CBP) standup of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) operations out of Corpus Christi, Texas, we write to alert you to our strong ongoing support for existing and future operations along the northern border. 

Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and the border security of the United States is no exception.  Our northern border should not be a weak link in our homeland defense.  While the two regions face distinct challenges requiring unique approaches, we need to make sure that both of America’s borders are secure, not just the southern one.  Though stopping illegal immigration along the southern border is an important part of CBP’s mission, it is not that agency’s only responsibility.  Many threats, including smuggling of drugs and controlled goods, and even terrorism, come from the north.  Despite these dangers, CBP guards our northern border with just a fraction of the staff dedicated to the southern border.  We are concerned about any proposals that would worsen this imbalance.

We support strong CBP operations along the southern border to combat illegal immigration and secure the border.  However, we strongly oppose boosting southern operations by taking critical Border Patrol agents, CBP funding, and in particular limited assets, like Predator B and other aircraft, away from the northern border.  These assets are essential to defending our nation against smugglers, terrorists, and others who wish to do us harm.  While it may be politically expedient, it would be reckless to weaken our northern border security in response to the need for more assets in the south.  A strong CBP presence along the northern border is essential to our border security and must be maintained. 

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.