Border troops to be delayed furtherPosted: Updated:
In an exclusive interview with Fox 11 News on the south lawn of the White House, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says it will still be weeks before National Guard troops are on the U.S.-Mexico border-- troops the White House said would be there ten days ago.
That, as the House passes a bill with hundreds of millions more for border security.
Security on the southwest border has always a hot button issue, but it's been even more prominent lately as federal lawmakers have asked for national guard troops in the Tucson sector.
"Which is basically the eastern half of Arizona. The one area where we are still seeing unacceptably high numbers," says Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
That is, high numbers of immigrants crossing illegally from Mexico into the U.S.
The good news for those who want the troops here, they're on their way. The bad news, it won't be nearly as soon as promised.
"The first began arriving, or the command and control elements began arriving, on the 1st of august. They should all be there within, i would say, 30 to 60 days," says Secretary Napolitano.
In total, the federal government will assign 524 National Guardsmen to Arizona.
"Not just national guard. Civilian law enforcement as well in the form of border patrol officers, customs officers, ice agents and the like," says Napolitano.
But first, the president has to sign off on the funding for the increased civilian law enforcement.
"This should be a bipartisan issue and i urge the senate to return immediately to pass this bill," says Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Tuesday the house passed a $600M Border Security Bill, but because of minor changes, it will go back to the Senate-- which is out of session until September-- rather than the President's desk.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, speaking on the House floor Tuesday, was not happy, "We're here because the Senate has refused to do the responsible thing and yet again, for the third time, has sent this back here."
Whether the senate returns to session early to vote on the border security package remains to be seen.
Secretary Napolitano also announced Tuesday that the Secure Communities Program has been deployed to all 25 counties along the southwest border.
The program allows immigration officials to identify illegal immigrants being held for serious offenses in state prisons and local jails and deport them.