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Mexico flags Bush border plan as ‘militarization’

first_imgMEXICO CITY – Mexican President Vicente Fox telephoned President George W. Bush on Sunday to express his concern about what he called the possibility of a “militarized” border between the two nations. According to Fox’s office, Bush told his Mexican counterpart he was considering sending the National Guard to the border but said this did not constitute a militarization. Bush “is analyzing the administrative and logistical support of part of the National Guard, not the Army, to help police on the border,” Fox’s office said. Bush is expected to make a speech on how the United States should deal with border security and illegal immigrants already in the United States tonight. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsA White House official told The Associated Press on Sunday that 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. White House aides worked into the night Sunday to iron out details of the proposal and allay concerns among lawmakers that using troops to man the border would further burden an overextended military. The White House official said Bush would propose using troops as a stopgap 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 spoke on a condition of anonymity before Bush’s expected address on the topic tonight. 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 10,000 being discussed at the Pentagon. Bush is considering the National Guard plan as he seeks support from conservatives in Congress for his immigration bill. The president wants to allow foreigners to get temporary work permits to enter and work in the United States, but many conservatives want a tougher approach on illegal immigrants. Criticism of the National Guard plan came Sunday from Democrats, but also an important Republican negotiator in the immigration debate, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. He said National Guard troops cannot secure the border over the long term and that he does not think it is wise even in the short term. Hagel said the bill under debate in the Senate that he helped write would double the 12,000-strong Border Patrol force over the next five years. “That’s the way to fix it, not further stretching the National Guard,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said he supported using the National Guard on the Mexican border. He said lawmakers who doubt that the National Guard, whose members have served for years in Iraq and went to the Gulf Coast after last summer’s hurricanes, could take on border patrol duty are “whining” and “moaning.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more