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National Guard to stay on border through September

National Guard troops will remain on the U.S.-Mexico border through September, Homeland Security officials said Friday.

The 1,200 soldiers had been expected to remain after the feds announced last month they would ask Congress for $30 million to extend Operation Phalanx, which had been set to end the second week of June.

Funding for the program, $110 million overall and an estimated $34 million in Arizona, has been paid by the Defense Department thus far.

Information on the funding for the extension was not immediately available. Officials said last month they hoped to extend the mission for another year.

The 1,200 Guardsmen were deployed last fall to support Border Patrol operations, mainly by surveilling border areas. Training began in August, while full-scale operations started Oct. 1.

560 troops, who under federal law are not authorized to make arrests, have been working in Arizona.

The Guardsmen operate surveillance posts and assist Border Patrol agents with logistics.

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Jun 17, 2011, 4:08 pm
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thanks sentinel for all the area news. You do a great job & are a great resource, especially in rural az. Lets get more national guardsmen back from foreign lands and help guard the az. tex. & cal. borders. us citizens can’t travel desert land without fear of drug smugglers. buddhaboy <<<

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Jim Greenhill/U.S. Army

A California National Guardsman monitors the the coast near San Diego in December.