Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

524 troops head to US-Mexico border

Around 500 US National Guard troops are to be deployed to the Arizona-Mexican border

The governors of Texas and Arizona have criticized the US administration's border security plans, saying not enough National Guard troops are being deployed to their states.

"What we heard wasn't anything what we hoped to hear," Arizona governor Jan Brewer said after a 90-minue briefing by federal officials sent by president Barack Obama.

Texas governor Rick Perry, a Republican like Brewer, said the deployment to his state was "insufficient to meet the needs of securing the Texas-Mexico border."

A White House statement said plans to deploy 1,200 additional National Guard soldiers along the US-Mexico border would "complement the unprecedented resources and additional efforts already devoted by this administration to securing the south-west border".

Arizona would get 524 National Guard troops, Texas would get 250, California 224 and New Mexico 72, officials said. Another 130 would be at a national liaison office.

Brewer has said the deployment should total 6,000, including 3,000 in Arizona, the state with the most illegal border crossings. Mr Perry asked in January 2009 for 1,000 National Guard troops to help with border security in Texas alone.

The White House statement said the extra Guard troops would be used to provide intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance support as well as backup to counternarcotics enforcement until more civilian officers are trained and stationed at the border.

The federal officials briefed Brewer, her senior aides and several state agency heads after an hourslong meeting in Tucson earlier Monday with Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, US representative Gabrielle Giffords and dozens of local law enforcement officials. Goddard and Giffords are Democrats.

The federal team was led by John Brennan, a national security adviser whom Mr Goddard said has the job of evaluating "the whole picture."

"He never said this is all," Goddard said. "He said this is what we're going to do right now."

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