26 May 2010

US to send extra troops to bolster US-Mexico border

10:58 am on 26 May 2010

US President Barack Obama is to request an extra $US500 million in funding and send up to 1200 troops to help secure the US-Mexico border.

An administration official said National Guard troops would be sent until the US can recruit and train additional agents to serve there.

The BBC reports the move follows pressure from border states for action to help curb illegal immigration and drug violence.

Last week President Felipe Calderon of Mexico urged the United States to work with him on such issues.

Mr Calderon asked the US Congress to reform US immigration policy and criticised a new Arizona law which requires police officers to check the immigration status of people they suspect are in the country illegally.

Administration officials say the extra border troops will provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support for existing law enforcement officials, as well as help with counter-narcotics and training.

The extra funds will be used to increase the numbers of federal officers working on the border.

Arms flow

In his address to Congress last week, Mr Calderon also asked for help in stopping the flow of weapons across the border into Mexico, saying that 80% of recently seized guns could be traced to the United States.

More than 22,000 people have been killed in Mexico since Mr Calderon came to power.

Mr Calderon has deployed 50,000 troops to help quell the violence, but so far with limited success.