National Guard Troops Might Have A New Assignment

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White House officials say President Bush will call for thousands of National Guard troops to be deployed along the Mexico border in support of patrols aimed at keeping out illegal immigrants. The President will speak to the nation about immigration Monday night. White House aides are ironing out details of the proposal. They want to address concerns among lawmakers that using troops to man the border would further burden the an overextended military.

Two officials say Bush will propose using troops as a stopgap measure while the Border Patrol builds up its resources. The troops would play a supportive role to Border Patrol agents, who would maintain primary responsibility for physically guarding the border.

The official would not say how many troops Bush wanted to use, except that it would be in the thousands but less than an estimate of as many as ten-thousand being discussed at the Pentagon.