Mixed Reaction to Obama Border Plan
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
President Obama's plan to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border is the second time in four years that a president has deployed the Guard to stem illegal immigration, and it's a sign of how quickly the issue has resurfaced as a point of national debate. But Obama's decision, announced Tuesday (May 25), has only partly quelled criticism coming from border states.
While many officials from the border region applauded Obama's announcement, the president did not immediately say exactly when or where troops will be deployed. That didn't escape the notice of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who for months has been pushing for a substantial deployment — about 1,000 troops- in Texas alone.
"We've not received any specifics about the latest reports or any official word regarding Governor Perry's request," a spokeswoman for the Republican governor told the El Paso Times . "But we remain hopeful that the federal government will step up and secure our international border by providing the resources we've requested, including 1,000…National Guardsmen to support civilian law enforcement along the Texas-Mexico border."
In Arizona — which has become ground zero for the nation's debate over illegal immigration — Governor Jan Brewer took credit for Obama's announcement. Brewer signed a bill earlier this month that is the nation's toughest crackdown on illegal immigration, requiring police officers to check for legal status when dealing with suspected unlawful immigrants.
Brewer, a Republican, called Obama's plan "a very significant and important shift in the president's immigration and border-security policy."
"My signing of Senate Bill 1070 has clearly ignited the talk of action in Washington for the people of Arizona and other border states," Brewer said, according to The Arizona Republic . "I am pleased that President Obama has now, apparently, agreed that our nation must secure the border to address rampant border violence and illegal immigration."
Both Brewer and Perry are seeking election in the fall, and with open gubernatorial seats in the other two states that border Mexico — California and New Mexico — the deployment of the Guard is sure to become a campaign issue. Brewer's likely opponent in November, Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard, also hailed Obama's move on Tuesday .