U.S. troops to arrive at U.S.-Mexico border Aug. 1

* First deployment under plan to send up to 1,200 troops

* Customs and Border Protection also sending 300 agents

By Jeremy Pelofsky

WASHINGTON, July 19 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. National Guard troops
will begin arriving along the U.S. border with Mexico on Aug. 1
to help bolster security as the Obama administration tries to
stem the flow of illegal immigrants, weapons and narcotics,
U.S. officials said on Monday.

In addition to the deployment of National Guard troops,
some 300 more Customs and Border Protection agents and officers
will be sent to the border region along with additional
helicopters and other surveillance equipment, they said.

“The border is more resourced and more secure than it’s
ever been, but the work continues and the challenge remains,”
said Alan Bersin, commissioner of the Customs and Border
Protection agency.

The administration has pledged to send up to 1,200 National
Guard troops to the area for a year and to seek $600 million
for, among other things, 1,000 new border patrol agents and
unmanned aerial detection systems.

Violence along the border has been escalating in recent
years but Bersin said illegal crossings have begun to decline
while seizures of weapons and drugs have gone up.

The largest share of the National Guard force — 524 troops
— will go to Arizona where state officials have complained
bitterly about lack of security. Legislators there have passed
a new strict immigration law to try to crack down on illegal
immigrants.

A representative for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was not
immediately available for comment on the deployment plans.

The Obama administration on Thursday goes to federal court
to try to block the state’s new immigration law, which requires
state and local police to investigate the immigration status of
anyone they reasonably suspect of being an illegal immigrant.

The Justice Department has sued the state and sought to
block the law from taking effect on July 29, stating that it
violates the U.S. Constitution because immigration laws are
supposed to be the federal government’s responsibility.

Arizona officials have countered that the federal
government has failed to address the problem of illegal
immigration and the state had to pass its own law. There are
10.8 million illegal immigrants believed to be living in the
United States.

In addition to the troops, the Immigration and Customs
Enforcement agency said it would focus more on Arizona,
including opening an office to curb cross-border crime and
sending more attorneys to the Tucson area to prosecute
criminals who have illegally re-entered the United States.

Bersin said negotiations continued with the Mexican
government about using unmanned aerial vehicles to conduct
surveillance flights on Mexico’s side of the border, but that
no agreement had yet been reached.
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(Additional reporting by Tim Gaynor in Phoenix; editing by
David Alexander and Mohammad Zargham)

U.S. troops to arrive at U.S.-Mexico border Aug. 1