President to send 1,200 troops to border, but is it enough?


by Alicia E. Barrón

Posted on May 25, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 10:52 AM

PHOENIX – Reaction is pouring in to President Barack Obama's plan to send 1,200 National Guard troops to Arizona to target smugglers and secure the border.

The President is asking Congress for $500 million to upgrade border security and to hire more federal agents to investigate and prosecute border crime.

3TV’s Jared Dillingham reports on what the key players in state politics are saying about this long-awaited action from the federal government.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords says, "I'm very pleased to announce that Pres. Obama has finally heeded our calls."

Rep. Giffords was the first to praise the decision to send guard troops to the border while Sen. John McCain was the first to criticize it. He said on the Congress floor: "It's simply not enough."

McCain and border ranchers have demanded between 3,000 and 6,000 troops for the border, which is far more than the President's 1,200.

Patrick Bray, with the Arizona Cattlemen's Association, says ranchers want the troops to be more than monitors and to take on more of a law enforcement role. “That they could apprehend illegals coming across the border and assist Border Patrol in more than just reporting crossings."

In the last border deployment, from 2006 to 2008, the troops played more of a surveillance roll. They did not actually intercept smugglers and they are not expected to intervene during the upcoming deployment either.

Some, like Sen. McCain and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, say the mere presence of the guard on the border has an effect on the smugglers.

Sheriff Babeu says, “Anybody who sees these soldiers, it's a deterrent."

While the number of troops ultimately deployed will be hotly debated, all sides say it is an important step.
Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard says, “I'll take what we can get. I don’t think this is the final response. I think it's a start."

Gov. Brewer released a statement saying she is pleased, anxious to hear details of the president's plan such as when troops will arrive and how long their deployment will last. Full details are scheduled to be released Wednesday.


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