National Guard will bolster Mexico border

Obama to deploy 1,200 troops in volatile area

By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post / May 26, 2010

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WASHINGTON — President Obama will deploy an additional 1,200 National Guard troops to the southern border and request $500 million extra for border security, according to an administration official. The decision comes as the White House seeks Republican support for broad immigration reform this year.

The official said the new resources will provide “immediate enhancement’’ to the border as the Obama administration continues to “work with Congress to fix our broken immigration system through comprehensive reform, which would provide lasting and dedicated resources by which to secure our borders and make our communities safer.’’

The 1,200 troops will join about 340 already in the border region. They will support law enforcement efforts against drug trafficking by increasing monitoring of border crossings and performing intelligence analysis.

The move is a direct appeal to Republicans in Congress, who have said that the federal government must get serious about securing the border before they support broader changes.

Arizona’s two Republican senators — John McCain and Jon Kyl — asked Obama to send guard troops to the border in a letter last week. McCain said yesterday that he plans to introduce an amendment to fund 6,000 troops on the southwest border.

“The violence has crossed the border and escalated to a point where many Arizonans do not feel safe within their own homes or on their own property,’’ McCain and Kyl wrote last week. “It would be irresponsible not to do everything we can to stop the escalating violence.’’

Republican senators said yesterday that they were underwhelmed by Obama’s proposal. The president told GOP lawmakers during a visit to Capitol Hill that he was committing greater resources to border security than his predecessor, President George W. Bush, “but I don’t think that’s the point,’’ said Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine. “The point is, how much do we need to get the job done?’’