We’ve got the official word on where those 1,200 National Guard troops that President Obama called up for deployment to the border will be sent. NPR reports: Arizona gets 524 troops; Texas, 250; California, 224 and New Mexico, 72. Another 130 will be assigned to a national liaison office.
They will be headed to the border on August 1 for yearlong stints, where they will be tasked with patrolling the border and reporting border crossers to law enforcement. They will be allowed to carry firearms, and will aid in criminal investigations at the border. The National Guard will be stationed in their various states by September.
Obama’s promise of more troops, made in May, also came with a $500 million booster for more military surveillance technology. That will be spent on surveillance vans, six more airplanes and helicopters and an additional 300 Customs and Border Protection agents, NPR reports. Customs and Border Protection commissioner Alan Bersin says that the additional officers will be stationed at the Arizona-Mexico border near Tucson.
The announcement was welcome news to border state politicians, who take issue with the Obama administration’s misplaced efforts to deal with immigration. “We should continue to move forward with a much larger commitment of National Guard troops right away and with an expansion of the Border Patrol to strengthen security for the long run,” U.S. Rep Ann Kirkpatrick, an Arizona Democrat, told NPR. Kirkpatrick also criticized the DOJ’s lawsuit against Arizona over SB 1070, the law that makes it a state crime to be in Arizona without papers.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer criticized the deployments as neither sufficient “nor tied to a strategy to comprehensively defeat the increasingly violent drug- and alien-smuggling cartels that operate in Arizona on a daily basis.”
Of course, more enforcement will never be enough for Brewer and other border state politicians. Not only is the border region much safer than Brewer will ever admit, we’ve currently got more Customs and Border Patrol officers stationed around the country than ever before. At the end of 2009, the numbers of CBP offices had increased 100 percent since just 2004. And CBP remains the largest uniformed law enforcement force in the country, with more than 58,000 on the payroll, according to Bersin.
Photo: Members of the Kentucky National Guard arrive in Tuscon, Arizona. (Getty Images/Gary Williams)