U.S. President Barack Obama says his administration is sending hundreds of additional federal agents to the United States' border with Mexico, to help fight drug cartels and prevent violence from spilling over into this country. At a news conference, Tuesday, Mr. Obama said if these new steps are not enough, he is prepared to do more.
Drug-related violence has killed more than 1,000 people in Mexico, this year. President Obama was asked if he considers the escalating violence in Mexico a national security threat. He answered by explaining his administration's new border security initiative.
"We are sending millions of dollars in additional equipment to provide more effective surveillance. We are providing hundreds of additional personnel that can help control the border, deal with custom issues," he said.
The president says his administration is coordinating effectively with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who he said has taken on the challenge of standing up to the powerful drug cartels. Earlier Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said officials are still considering whether to deploy the National Guard to the Arizona and Texas borders, which their governors have requested. President Obama says this interdepartmental plan is designed to help stem the violence.
"The steps that we've taken are designed to make sure that the border communities in the United States are protected and you are not seeing a spillover of violence, and that we are helping the Mexican government deal with a very challenging situation," he said.
President Obama also says the United States is prepared to do more, if it should become necessary.
"We are going to continue to monitor the situation and, if the steps we have taken do not get the job done, then we will do more," he said.
The new border security initiative was announced as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares to travel to Mexico, Wednesday. President Obama is also planning a trip to Mexico, in the coming weeks.