Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Obama Plans Immigration Speech This Thursday

President Obama will give a speech on immigration on Thursday, but it is unlikely to include any new policy initiatives and will not be preceded by an announcement on a Justice Department lawsuit in Arizona, officials said.
The appearance will take place at American University's School of International Service at 10:45 a.m. Thursday, the White House said.

Officials in Arizona and Texas are clamoring for more National Guard troops along the U.S.-Mexico border, saying that their share of a planned new deployment won't be enough to make a dent in illegal immigration.

After a meeting Monday with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, officials with the Obama administration announced that Arizona would receive a sizable share of the 1,200 planned new troops, 524. That is more than double the number allocated to any of the other three border states, even though Arizona abuts only about 19% of the U.S.-Mexican border.

By comparison, Texas is set to receive 250 guard troops, even though it has 60% of the 2,000-mile border. California will receive 224 and New Mexico 72, the administration announced. The remaining troops would report to a national liaison office.

Texas and Arizona, both led by Republican governors, immediately complained about their allocations. "Obviously, that is not sufficient to secure the border," said Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry. "We're going to continue to urge the federal government to provide the resources we need."

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer expressed similar concern and said that the 524 troops were not what she had hoped she would receive.

Tensions have already been high between Ms. Brewer and the Obama administration after the governor signed a law requiring police who are enforcing other laws to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally. The Obama administration has threatened to sue Arizona over the law.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responded to complaints from the governors by saying the administration's effort to secure the border has been extraordinary. "The president has made a big commitment to securing the border," he said Tuesday. President Obama is expected to make a speech on immigration laws Thursday.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, struck more conciliatory tones. Mr. Schwarzenegger, in a statement, applauded President Obama for sending the additional troops. However, he too said he would "continue to urge the federal government to provide more National Guard personnel for our border.

" Mr. Richardson's office called the Obama administration announcement a good first step.
Texas and Arizona say that crime is high along their borders and there is an imminent need for amped-up security.

The sector of the border that includes Tucson, Ariz., had more arrests of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border than any other sector, with 241,000 in 2009, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The next closest was the San Diego sector with 119,000 arrests.
Still, the arrests in the Tucson sector in 2009 were down 36% from 2007.

Federal legislation sponsored by Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, would bring 6,000 National Guard troops to the four border states. Arizona has requested 3,000 of those.

"Those numbers are more in line with what is usually estimated as needed to secure the border," said Fred Burton, a former special agent with the state department and a vice president of intelligence at Stratfor, a global intelligence company.     Source-Wall St Journal

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