No immediate plans to send Nevada Guard to the border
RENO (AP) – There are no immediate plans for state guardsmen to deploy for patrol duty along the Mexican border, Nevada National Guard officials said Wednesday.
“Right now the four border states are in a self-assessment mode, figuring out their own capabilities and what they have,” Guard spokeswoman Capt. April Conway said from Carson City.
“We in Nevada don’t expect anything for at least the next several weeks,” she said.
The nation’s National Guard chief told a House committee in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that the first wave of about 800 National Guard soldiers will head to the U.S-Mexico border as early as next week.
Lt. Gen. Steven Blum said 200 soldiers are preparing to go to each of the four border states – California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico – around June 1.
The troops are the first step in President Bush’s plan to dispatch up to 6,000 National Guard members to states bordering Mexico to support the Border Patrol and help stem illegal immigration into the United States. Most of the troops would spend about 21 days on border duty.
Conway said any request for Nevada troops would be made by the governors of border states to Gov. Kenny Guinn.
“It would be a governor-to-governor request,” she said. “Gov. Guinn would still be our commander in chief.”
Guinn spokesman Steve George said no assistance has been asked for.
Conway said the Nevada Military Department has provided Guinn with a list of the Guard’s capabilities and assets, outlining what resources would be available if requested. “We stand ready,” Conway said.
“Until then, we’re just waiting.”
Last week, Guinn, a Republican, sided with governors of three other Western states, saying that the president’s use of National Guard troops along the border should be a temporary move to help stop illegal immigration.
The long-term solution, he said, is to expand the number of federal immigration officers.
Guard assignments on the border “should be temporary until we could get more government employees trained. We shouldn’t have a split responsibility,” Guinn 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 troops already have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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