Monday, October 01, 2007

Senators plead with Bush not to cut Guard at the border

Senators from states on the Mexican border are pleading President Bush to extend the National Guard deployment at the border, rather than letting it expire next summer. Already, half of the 6,000 National Guard troops who were sent to help secure the border with Mexico have left. The rest are scheduled to leave next summer.

"Americans could rightly question why the administration has dedicated 160,000 National Guardsmen to maintain order and security in Iraq, while eliminating the less than 6,000 Guardsmen performing an important task on our own southern border, which most agree is in a state of crisis," said a letter to President Bush signed by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M.

Since arriving at the border, Guard task forces have allowed more Border Patrol agents to patrol rather than do clerical work. The National Guard troops also are stationed in strategic observation areas that steer smugglers toward more remote areas. That gives agents time to intercept border crossers.

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