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National Guard Troops to Border

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Obama Agrees to Deploy 1,200 National Guard Troops to Border

President Obama announced last week that he would send 1,200 National Guard troops and request $500 million for border protection and law enforcement activities. (<A href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-05-25-obama-immigration_N.htm?csp=hf">USA Today, May 26, 2010). By doing so, the President finally responded to lawmakers, who have for over a year called on him to deploy National Guard troops to the border. However, the President’s move also came the very same day that Senate Republicans introduced an amendment that would send 6,000 National Guard troops to the border, the same number President Bush sent to the border in 2006 as part of Operation Jumpstart. (NPR, May 27, 2010)

Critics say the timing of the President’s move suggests he intended to avoid what could have been an embarrassing vote for Democrats already on the defensive about border security. Indeed, a senior administration official told The New York Times that the Obama administration hurriedly put together the plan in order to provide Senate Democrats with an alternative plan to support. (New York Times, May 26, 2010). Senators Kyl and McCain were clearly not impressed with the President’s National Guard directive, stating, this “is a weak start and does not demonstrate an understanding of the current situation in the region.” (McCain/Kyl Press Release, May 25, 2010). Senator Cornyn stated that “The President must make border security a priority, not an afterthought or an empty talking point.” (Cornyn Press Release, May 25, 2010).

While the Obama administration announced its plan to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the border, it was also working behind the scenes to torpedo the McCain Amendment to the Emergency Appropriations Bill (S.Amdt.4214), which called for 6,000 troops on the U.S.-Mexico border. White House Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan and National Security Advisor General James Jones sent a three-page letter to Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin that boasted of the President’s “comprehensive, multi-layered, targeted approach to law enforcement and security” that had already dispatched 300 National Guard troops to the border and was now committing up to 1,200. (White House Letter, May 25, 2010). In the letter, Brennan and Jones also sharply criticized the McCain Amendment, arguing that it “represents an unwarranted interference with the Commander-in-Chief’s responsibilities to direct the employment of our Armed Forces.” (Id.). Despite this objection, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved McCain’s proposal as an amendment to its fiscal 2011 Defense Authorization bill. (Congress Daily, May 28, 2010).

The Mexican Government quickly reacted to President Obama’s announcement. President Felipe Calderon said Mexico does not object to U.S. plans to station troops along the border between the two nations, as long as the soldiers do not arrest Mexicans trying to get into the United States. “They have a commitment to uphold the law on the American side and not to use the National Guard for immigration purposes or to deal with immigration issues,” said Calderon. (Reuters, May 27, 2010).

Obama’s proposal to provide up to 1,200 members of the National Guard across a 2,000 mile border only adds one guardsman for every 1.6 miles of border. On the Senate floor, Senator Cornyn pointed out that Obama’s proposal is an unacceptable short-term solution to a long-term problem, stating, “My colleagues keep repeating the White House talking points and congratulating themselves on all they’ve done for border security, but it’s not enough.” (Cornyn Press Release, May 27, 2010). McCain added, “I appreciate the additional 1,200 being sent ... as well as an additional $500 million, but it’s simply not enough.” (Associated Press, May 26, 2010).

'PAU' both wife and daughter in the U.S. 08/25/2009

Daughter's' CRBA Manila Embassy 08/07/2008 dual citizenship


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