President Bush will call tonight for thousands of National Guard troops along the Mexico border in support of patrols aimed at keeping out illegal immigrants, reports the Associated Press. Officials said Bush would propose using troops as a stopgap while the Border Patrol builds up its resources. Apparently the number of troops would the thousands but less than an estimate of up to 10,000 being discussed at the Pentagon.
“It’s not about militarization of the border,” White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said on CNN. “It’s about assisting the civilian border patrol in doing their job, providing intelligence, providing support, logistics support and training and these sorts of things.” Democrats criticized the plan, as did Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE). “We’ve got National Guard members on their second, third and fourth tours in Iraq,” he said. “We have stretched our military as thin as we have ever seen it in modern times. And what in the world are we talking about here, sending a National Guard that we may not have any capacity to send up to or down to protect borders? That’s not their role.”