4 Apr 2010, 1:19pm
by admin

Border security debate intensifies in Arizona

By Jen Dimascio, Politico.com, 4/2/10 [here]

The murder of a prominent Arizona rancher has intensified an election-year debate about border security, with Republicans stepping up calls for National Guard deployments.

Facing a tough primary contest, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been drawn into the fight, with his conservative opponent J.D. Hayworth accusing him of “28 years of inaction” on border security.

McCain wrote Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano this week, imploring her to fulfill his and GOP Gov. Jan Brewer’s standing request for federally funded guard troops. Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry, meanwhile, wants unmanned drones to patrol the extended Texas border.

The governors are empowered to deploy the Guard, but they want the U.S. government to pay for it, which requires a presidential order.

Meanwhile, the murder of the rancher, Robert Krentz, 58, remains unsolved, with no proof that it is necessarily related to immigration or border issues susceptible to improvement by troops.

Authorities have revealed a cell phone conversation and followed a trail of footprints 20 miles to the Mexico border, leading some to speculate that an illegal immigrant may be the culprit.

Smack in the middle of it all is Napolitano, who in 2006, as governor of Arizona, persuaded President George W. Bush to send in the Guard to bolster border patrol forces fighting illegal immigration.

Now she’s on the other side, the head of the agency in charge of Customs and Border Patrol and securing the nation’s borders.

The administration, however, hasn’t yielded to the requests that came in a year ago from the governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas for a National Guard presence on the border. It maintains that security along the border has improved.

“We’re going to examine whether, and if, National Guard deployments would make sense and in what circumstances they would make sense as part of this overall review of our border situation,” Obama told reporters last month. “I haven’t drawn any conclusions yet,” he said. “I don’t have a particular tipping point in mind.” … [more]



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