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National Guard begin border deployment

The first of 532 National Guard troops are set to deploy to the Arizona-Mexico border Monday.

About 30 Guardsmen are expected to deploy Monday, with the full contingent in place by the end of September, said Lt. Valentine Castillo, a National Guard spokesman.

The troops will support the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of Operation Copper Cactus. Serving as "eyes and ears," they will conduct surveillance on and near the border and provide intelligence to federal authorities.

Under the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, troops under federal authority are not permitted to carry out direct law enforcement functions inside the United States.

"These soldiers will work with the Border Patrol and will be put to good use," Attorney General Terry Goddard — the Democratic candidate for governor — said in a release. "But the federal government needs to do more to take the fight to the organized criminals who bring most of the drugs and illegal immigrants across our border. We need to hit the cartels in Mexico with decisive, overwhelming and binational force. Defensive steps alone will not stop these deeply entrenched, heavily armed and well-funded organizations.

"Each of these service members decided on their own to come to one of our nation’s harshest deserts at one of the hottest times of the year to answer our nation’s call," Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said in a release. "For that they deserve our sincere gratitude."

"I remain deeply concerned about the length of time it took for them to get here. It should not have taken this long to get National Guard boots on the border in Arizona," Giffords said. "Like many of my constituents, my reaction can be summed up in three words: 'It’s about time.'"

In May, President Obama ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to the Mexican border to assist in border enforcement.

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1 comment on this story

Aug 31, 2010, 5:43 am
-0 +1

These are the names of my local law enforcement (apologies to Dick Bakken):
US Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), FBI, DEA, CIA, Cochise County Sheriff, Sierra Vista Police, Douglas Police, Bisbee Police, Benson Police, Tombstone Marshall, Willcox Police, Huachuca City Police, Arizona Rangers, CID, military police, US Army, US Marines,  Arizona Department of Public Safety, Arizona Fish and Game, National Park Service rangers, American Border Patrol, weekend warriors, Arizona Militia. Oh, and The Fence, and UAV’s, and let’s not forget The Blimp. And now the National Guard.

This is the law enforcement that I can think of, just in Cochise County. The official ones are all “cross certified” to do drug interdiction and human smuggling interdiction. People have always commented when visiting here from elsewhere in the US, that there sure is a lot of law enforcement here. And indeed, one cannot travel a mile down any highway in Cochise County without encountering some form of law enforcement vehicle.

It’s about time, my ass. This is politics. If the government put half the effort into repairing New Orleans as it has placating the border nuts, the levies would be complete. Instead they spend money on the Mexican border to stem the flow of humans seeking refuge from violence and economic mayhem.

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U.S. Army photo

Border Patrol agents observe Arizona National Guard Soldiers training for Operation Copper Cactus.