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Administration Plans to Send National Guard to Mexican Border?

06/30/2009 -The Obama administration is planning to seek as many as 1,500 National Guardsmen to secure the nation's border with Mexico,according to the San Antonio Express-News.

The stopgap measure between the Defense Department and the Homeland Security Department, and comes despite Pentagon concerns about committing more troops to the border — a move some officials worry will be seen as militarizing the region.

Senior administration officials said the Guard program would last no longer than a year and would build on an existing counterdrug operation. They said the program would be mostly federally funded and draw on National Guard volunteers from the four border states.

Officials said the program would mainly use Guard members for surveillance, intelligence analysis and aviation support. Guard units also would supply ground troops who could assist at border crossings and with land and air transportation.

The Express-News reached out to both the governors of California and Texas to learn if they had any knowledge of the plan. Both said no details from the Obama administration had been forthcoming.

In March, Texas Governor Rick Perrycalled for 1,000 National Guardsmento help protect his state's border with Mexico for fear the escalating drug war would bleed over the Rio Grande River.

♦Photo of Texas National Guard in Iraq by The_National_Guard/Flickr