News / USA

US to Send 1,200 National Guard Troops to Border With Mexico in August

Meredith Buel

The United States says it will send 1,200 National Guard troops to the country's border with Mexico next month.  This comes amid concerns about escalating violence and efforts to stem the flow of illegal immigrants and narcotics into the U.S. and weapons into Mexico.  

U.S. National Guard troops will begin to deploy along the Mexican border on August 1 and they are expected to stay a year to support federal border patrol agents already in the region.

The troops will be distributed among four border states - Arizona, Texas, California and New Mexico.

Alan Bersin is the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection at the Department of Homeland Security here in Washington. "The fact of the matter is that violence has been proceeding and escalating in Mexico as the result of the civil war among the cartels and the struggle between the government of Mexico and those cartels.  So we see this as part of an ongoing threat that we have been cooperating deeply with the government of Mexico to confront," he said.

Violence along the U.S.-Mexico border has escalated in recent years.  Bersin says illegal crossings are on the decline, but that seizures of weapons and drugs have increased.

In Mexico, northern border areas have been worst hit by drug violence that has left nearly 25,000 people dead since the government launched a crackdown on organized crime more than three years ago.

In recent days, nearly two dozen people have been killed in assaults, including a car bombing that targeted police -- the first attack of its kind in the country's drug war.

Homeland Security's Alan Bersin said "This latest incident is one in a long string of violent incidents.  The precise nature of it is one that we need to work with our Mexican colleagues and counterparts to discover exactly what it was and what implications it may have."

The Obama administration has pledged to ask Congress for $600 million to hire 1,000 more border patrol agents and to purchase unmanned aerial detection systems.

National Guard Bureau Chief, General Craig McKinley, says the troops will be armed, but that they will only use their weapons defensively. "They will be taking the lead from the law enforcement personnel who they will be assisting in that support role.  Entry identification teams will fill a variety of roles, depending on the situation.  But they certainly will be deployed on the United States side of the border, following the rules of engagement as set forth by the lead agencies here," he said.

Sending the National Guard troops follows a decision by the governor of Arizona to sign a law requiring local police to check the immigration status of people they suspect are in the country illegally.

The Obama administration has filed a lawsuit to get the law overturned, arguing that immigration enforcement is a federal, rather than a state, responsibility.

You May Like

Taiwan President Sounds Warning on Future of China Ties

Current Taiwan government has eased once dangerously tough relations with Beijing since 2008, but next year’s presidential election could change that course More

US Presidential Candidates Woo Hispanic Voters

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton reached out to Hispanic voters this past week in a bid to boost their voter support More

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Documentary is a close-up and personal view of young woman who has become of global symbol of courage and inspiration More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs