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1,200 National Guard troops to be deployed on border

Obama to request $500 million for border security

1,200 National Guard troops will be deployed on the U.S.-Mexico border, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announced Tuesday.

"The White House is doing the right thing," said Giffords in a news release. "Arizonans know that more boots on the ground means a safer and more secure border. Washington heard our message."

President Obama will authorize a deployment of up to 1,200 troops to the southwest border, and request $500 million in supplemental spending for enhanced border security, Giffords said.

"The fulfillment of my request is a clear sign that this administration is beginning to take border security seriously,"said Giffords.

Sen. John McCain plans to ask for funding for 6,000 troops on the border, he announced via Twitter. "heading to the floor to introduce my amendment to fund 6,000 Nat'l Guard to SW border," he wrote.

Giffords has made deploying troops on the border a centerpiece of her push for border security following the killing of Cochise County rancher Robert Krentz in March. Arizona senators McCain and Jon Kyl have both called for troops on the border.

Gov. Jan Brewer has also requested federal deployments; she does not want to use state money to fund Guardsmen on the border.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard praised Obama's action. "I have been calling for these actions for more than a year, and I'm pleased the administration is listening," said the Democrat, who is running for governor.

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The $500 million will be used to enhance technology at the border; share information with state, local, and tribal law enforcement; and increase federal law enforcement activities (including more agents, investigators, and prosecutors) as part of a multi-layered effort to target networks trafficking in people, drugs, illegal weapons and money, said Giffords.

The National Guard troops will provide intelligence and intelligence analysis; surveillance and reconnaissance support; immediate support to counternarcotics enforcement; and training capacity until Customs and Border Patrol can recruit and train additional officers to serve on the border, according to Giffords, who cited information provided by the White House.

Operation Jump Start saw Guard troops from around the country assist with border observation and construction projects from 2006-2008. At its peak, 6,000 soldiers and airmen saw duty at one time, with nearly 30,000 troops seeing service throughout the operation.

National Guard troops under federal authority are not permitted to be used in law enforcement under the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. They are restricted to support roles such as observation, logistics and construction.

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An Army National Guard Soldier from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 158th Infantry Regiment, 29th Brigade Combat Team stands watch on a ridge above Nogales, at the Mexican border in 2006.

Youtube Video

Giffords' news release


White House agrees to congresswoman’s request

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords today is announcing that the White House has finally agreed to her repeated requests to deploy National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico.

“The White House is doing the right thing,” said Giffords, who called for the Guard’s deployment immediately after the March 27 murder of Cochise County rancher Rob Krentz. “Arizona’s (sic) know that more boots on the ground means a safer and more secure border. Washington heard our message.”

Later today, President Obama will authorize the deployment of up to 1,200 National Guard troops to southwest border. He also will request that $500 million be included in supplemental spending legislation for enhanced border protection and law enforcement activities.

Giffords wrote to Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain yesterday asking that they stand up for border security and include additional funding in the war supplemental bill making its way through the senate this week.

“The fulfillment of my request is a clear sign that this administration is beginning to take border security seriously,” said Giffords.