Guard on border causes governor concern
SACRAMENTO (AP) – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that he has “serious concerns” about President Bush’s plan to use 6,000 National Guard troops to help secure the Mexican border.
“Securing our borders is a law enforcement function and what we need are more Border Patrol agents, not National Guard troops who are neither trained nor suited for this purpose,” Schwarzenegger said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
Schwarzenegger also said that assigning Guard units to build fences and deploy surveillance equipment on the border, as Bush plans, would disrupt their training for other missions and take troops who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan away from their families again.
Rotating Guard troops along the border in two- or three-week shifts would create a “logistical nightmare and would be a poor use of forces trained for combat,” the governor said.
“The logistical support needed to maintain a constant redeployment of National Guard troops every two weeks will be staggering,” Schwarzenegger added. “From housing, food, storage, sewage, training, transportation needs, this constant state of deployment will require hundreds of additional troops just to support troop movement.”
He suggested the federal government explore using U.S. marshals, Forest Service officers and other federal law enforcement officers.
to supplement the Border Patrol instead of calling up National Guard troops.
State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, also criticized Bush’s plan, saying it would mean “an unacceptable over-stretching of California’s National Guard. It’s outrageous that we would send young Guard members to Iraq and then, when they come home, ship them off to the border,” he said.
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