President Barack Obama will deploy up to 1,200 more National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico, an administration official told CNN on Tuesday.
In addition, Obama will request $500 million in supplemental funds to current spending for enhanced border protection and law enforcement activities, the official said.
The National Guard troops will help with drug enforcement efforts and intelligence efforts until Customs and Border Patrol can recruit and train additional officers and agents to serve on the border, the official said.
The news followed Obama's lunch meeting with Senate Republicans, where Sen. John McCain of Arizona raised the issue of increased border security. McCain and fellow Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, as well as Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, have called for Obama to send more troops to the border region.
"It's simply not enough," McCain said Tuesday on the Senate floor. He called for 3,000 more National Guard troops just for the Arizona-Mexico border.
Giffords, who had called for the National Guard's deployment immediately after the March 27 murder of Cochise County rancher Rob Krentz, said Obama's step was "the right thing."
"Arizonans know that more boots on the ground means a safer and more secure border," Giffords said in a written statement. "Washington heard our message."
1,200 troops to Arizona....sounds wonderful when the fact they are administrative troops (desk jockeys) is left out. Those troops were scheduled to be sent long ago and are not part of a response by Obama. Isn't that the real problem...trying to get ANY substantive response from from Obama on anything. Now foreign gov'ts are equally appalled by his lack of response.
Arizona, and for that matter the entire US territory has the absolute right to decide on its immigration laws. Period. Stop trying to sell the idea that this is a National Security issue, that our borders are not safe and that law enforcement officials are risking their lives to protect us. It may be increasing criminal activity in Arizona. But I still have to see terrorists crossing the border. Please, just speak your truth, you have the right to.