Obama Considering Guard Troops on Texas-Mexico Border
By Spencer S. Hsu
President Obama is reviewing a request from Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to send National Guard troops to the Mexico border in response to violence triggered by Mexico's fight against drug cartels, the White House said.
"We're going to examine whether and if National Guard deployments would make sense and under what circumstances they would make sense," Obama told reporters from regional newspapers on Wednesday, as reported by the Dallas Morning News and McClatchy Newspapers.
"I'm not interested in militarizing the border," Obama said.
In his most direct comments so far on the drug fight that has killed 7,000 people in Mexico since the beginning of 2008, the president praised Mexico President Felipe Calderón for "taking some extraordinary risks under extraordinary pressure" to fight the cartels.
Obama said he will present a plan "within a few months" to counter the southbound smuggling of guns and cash that support the cartels.
U.S. officials say the amount of violence that has spilled over into the United States so far does not warrant major concern. Nevertheless, Obama added, "I think it's unacceptable if you've got drug gangs crossing our borders and killing U.S. citizens."
Perry, who last month called on Washington to pay for 1,000 additional troops or federal agents on the border, called Obama's statement "a mistake."
"Washington has been an abject failure [in] defending our border," Perry told Fox News's Neil Cavuto. "I'm not going to sit back while the feds do not do their job."
Posted at 7:10 PM ET on Mar 12, 2009
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