Bush wants to send 6,000 National Guards to border
WASHINGTON, May 16 (Reuters) US President George W Bush unveiled plans to deploy up to 6,000 National Guard troops on the US-Mexico border to bolster efforts to stem the flow of illegal immigrants.
In a rare nationally televised speech that underlined the political stakes, Bush yesterday denied he was ''militarising'' the border but said he wanted to use the troops to back up the Border Patrol while he added 6,000 officers over the next two years.
Bush was trying to placate conservatives demanding tougher border enforcement. But to their chagrin, he also insisted on creating a guest-worker program. A US official said the president was asking the US Congress for 1.9 billion dollars in emergency funds to pay for beefing up border security.
''We do not yet have full control of the border, and I am determined to change that,'' Bush said.
''In coordination with governors, up to 6,000 Guard members will be deployed to our southern border,'' he said.
He said the Border Patrol would remain in the lead and the Guard would assist by operating surveillance systems, analysing intelligence, installing fences and vehicle barriers, building patrol roads and providing training.
Defending his proposal for a guest-worker programme, Bush said, ''The reality is that there are many people on the other side of our border who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life.'' ''I support a temporary worker program that would create a legal path for foreign workers to enter our country in an orderly way, for a limited period of time,'' he said.