Obama to Deploy 1,200 National Guard Troops to the US-Mexico Border

By Alex Pepper

May 25, 2010 3:35pm

From Sunlen Miller

President Obama has authorized the call-up of 1,200 National Guard troops to the US Mexico border, an administration official confirms, requesting $500 million in supplemental funds.

The enhanced border protection and law enforcement will, “provide intelligence; surveillance and reconnaissance support; intelligence analysis; immediate support to counternarcotics enforcement; and training capacity until Customs and Border Patrol can recruit and train additional officers and agents to serve on the border,” an administration official says.

The official added that, “funds will be utilized to enhance technology at the border, share information and support with State, Local, and Tribal law enforcement, and increase DOJ and DHS presence and law enforcement activities at the border, to include increased agents, investigators, and prosecutors, as part of a multi-layered effort to target illicit networks trafficking in people, drugs, illegal weapons, and money.”

Today’s announcement comes just after last week’s state dinner honoring Mexican President Felipe Calderon, in which President Obama promised to “continue to do what’s necessary to secure our shared border.”

The President doesn't formally deploy National Guard troops himself, what he can agree to do is pay their costs under Title 32 if requested by the state.

“The White House is doing the right thing,” said U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) who called for the Guard’s deployment “Arizonans know that more boots on the ground means a safer and more secure border. Washington heard our message.”

“The fulfillment of my request is a clear sign that this administration is beginning to take border security seriously,” said Giffords.

Within moments of the announcement by the White House, Arizona Senator John McCain said that “it’s simply not enough,” and stressed that 6,000 troops were needed. Part of the problem, McCain argued, is that it will take time to train the National Guard troops once they get to the border.

-Sunlen Miller

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