Guard Likely to Support Border Patrol, National Security Adviser Says
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 15, 2006 Placing U.S. National Guard troops along the U.S.-Mexican border will bolster the nation's security, the president's national security adviser said yesterday.
"This is not about militarizing the border. The president is looking to do everything he can to secure the border," Stephen Hadley said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
It has been reported that about 10,000 National Guard troops will be placed along the southern border to support U.S. Border Patrol agents in stopping the flow of illegal immigrants. President Bush is scheduled to make a nationally televised speech tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern Time regarding the illegal immigration issue.
The U.S.-Mexican border stretches 2,000 miles and includes the U.S. states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, and the Mexican states of Baja California Norte, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.
Hadley said the American people want a secure border and the president is listening to their concerns as he consults with members of Congress and state governors.
"He's listening to and getting a lot of good advice," Hadley said. "He's had good consultations with the Congress. He will be talking to the governors. He's looking at a number of ideas, and a number of folks have suggested greater use of the National Guard."
Some National Guard troops have already been used in support functions along the border, he said. "They have been used in support functions to help the border patrol. Things like intelligence, training and that sort of thing," he said. "And I think that's the kind of thing people have in mind."
When asked if the additional National Guard troops will be armed and used in a law enforcement fashion, Hadley reiterated that their job function is still being examined. "Again, there are a number of ideas out there," he said. "The president is taking a look at them."
But Hadley stressed that safeguarding the border is the job of the Border Patrol and that National Guard troops would most likely continue to function in a support manner. "It's the support function we're talking about," he said. "It's something we are doing as both we and our neighbors try and cooperatively strengthen our borders."