U.S. National Guard Troops along the U.S.-Mexico border

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"The Bush administration promised to put 2,500 Guardsmen on the Mexican border by the end of June [2006], and 6,000 by the end of July, and June is gone and fewer than a thousand Guardsmen are in place," Wesley Pruden reported in the June 30, 2006, Washington Times.

President George W. Bush "asked the 50 states to send troops but so far only 10 have agreed," Pruden wrote. "'It's not a combat priority,' says Kristine Munn, a spokeswoman at the National Guard Bureau in Washington. 'It's a volunteer mission, so it's a question of balancing the needs of the Border Patrol with the needs of 54 states and territories, and all the balls roll in different directions.'

"The states that have signed agreements with the four border states will send tired troops, and several governors, who command the Guard when it is not on federal service, have found excuses to keep their troops at home. Governors in the Atlantic states plead flood duty, in the West forest fires, and in the South hurricane relief," Pruden wrote.

Calling Up the Troops

In a May 15, 2006, live televised prime-time speech, Bush called for thousands of U.S. National Guard troops to "temporarily patrol" the 3,200-kilometer U.S.-Mexico border. [1]

In his speech on "Comprehensive Immigration Reform", Bush said:

"The border should be open to trade and lawful immigration and shut to illegal immigrants, as well as criminals, drug dealers and terrorists.
"… Training thousands of new Border Patrol agents and bringing the most advanced technology to the border will take time. Yet the need to secure our border is urgent. So I am announcing several immediate steps to strengthen border enforcement during this period of transition:
"One way to help during this transition is to use the National Guard. So in coordination with governors, up to 6,000 Guard members will be deployed to our southern border."

Controversy

Although the stated purpose is for military reservists to "temporarily assist border control agents while new agents are hired and trained," Mexican President Vicente Fox "opposes the deployment" and called President Bush on May 14, 2006, to "express his concerns about a 'militarized' border." [2]

Documents

Bush Immigration Speech: Excerpts & Quotes

Some Immediate Reactions to the Bush Plan

In U.S.

In Mexico

Related SourceWatch Resources

External links