Nevada governor reacts to border plan
CARSON CITY (AP) – Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn sided with governors of three other Western states Monday in saying that the president’s plan for National Guard troops along the nation’s southern border should be a temporary move to help stop illegal immigration.
Guinn, echoing comments from governors of Arizona, California and New Mexico, said the long-term solution is to expand the number of federal immigration agents along this country’s border with Mexico.
Guard assignments on the border “should be temporary until we could get more government employees trained. We shouldn’t have a split responsibility,” the Republican governor said.
Guinn also said that the best guard troops for border duty would be those trained as military police – and border duty should be voluntary since many already have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He added the guard members should remain under control of their state commanders.
Guinn also said he supports the idea of a program that will provide a path to citizenship for many of the millions of illegal immigrants now in this country, especially those who try to fit in, start to learn English and contribute to the economy.
“This is a very critical issue for America, one of the biggest social and cultural issues that I can remember, and it has a great bearing on the success of America,” Guinn said.
In his speech Monday, President Bush talked about a guest-worker program for immigrants – and also proposed sending as many as 6,000 Guard troops to the borders.
“You can’t just go down there and put up a wall,” Guinn said, adding that slowing illegal immigration is necessary – but so is a process that enables people to legally come to the United States.
“How do you stop the growth? People are going to keep coming,” he said in emphasizing the need for an improved process.
Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., said on “Nevada Newsmakers” on KRNV-TV in Reno on Monday that he and other senators pitched the idea about using National Guard troops on the border a week ago in a meeting with Karl Rove.
“I wouldn’t criticize it because it was my idea,” Ensign said.
Ensign also said the country should focus on deporting unemployed and lawbreaking illegal immigrants.
“We want people coming who are coming to contribute to America. … The deportation should be focused on those who are not contributing to America, who are either not working, going on the government dole or who are committing a crime,” he said.
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