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Obama to send more troops to Southwest border region

By the CNN Wire Staff
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McCain: 1,200 more troops 'not enough'
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Mexico says additional U.S. troops at border should battle organized crime, not illegal immigration
  • Obama to send 1,200 more National Guard troops to help with anti-drug and intelligence efforts
  • "It's simply not enough," Sen. John McCain says
  • Previous border operation that sent more than 6,000 troops to the region ended in 2008
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Washington (CNN) -- 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 to supplement 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 Protection 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."

A previous troop deployment to the border region, called Operation Jump Start, ended in 2008. The operation sent more than 6,000 troops to California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to repair secondary border fence, construct nearly 1,000 metal barriers and fly Border Patrol agents by helicopter to intercept illegal immigrants.

The Mexican Embassy issued a statement later Tuesday saying the additional National Guard troops should help prevent the illegal flow of weapons and cash into Mexico. It also said Mexico "expects that National Guard personnel will strengthen U.S. operations in the fight against transnational organized crime that operates on both sides of our common border and that it will not, in accordance to its legal obligations, conduct activities directly linked to the enforcement of immigration laws."

 
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