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National Guard Assists with Security Along U.S.-Mexico Border

President Bush began the deployment of up to 6,000 National Guard members to the four states on the U.S.-Mexico border to perform support duties for border patrols. The NewsHour provides a report.

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  • JEFFREY KAYE, Reporter, KCET:

    With American soldiers at their posts in a bone-dry desert, this looks like a scene from Iraq or Afghanistan. But the troops are on duty in Arizona, just a stone's throw from the U.S.-Mexico border.

    They're among 6,000 National Guard personnel assigned to Operation Jumpstart, the Bush administration's high-profile troop deployment to help stem the tide of illegal immigration from Mexico.

  • DAN HEATON, National Guard Spokesman:

    The mission here is to secure the border.


    Guard spokesman Dan Heaton is a staff sergeant with the Michigan Air National Guard.


    If somebody sees that the border is being guarded, the border is being defended, and they decide not to cross, you know, we'll view that as a success. It's difficult to quantify it, but clearly that's a success.


    Nine hundred National Guard soldiers and airmen are assigned to the Yuma sector of the Border Patrol. Its 118-mile-long stretch has been a major crossing area for illegal migrants.

    Just last year, in the border town of San Luis, Arizona, Border Patrol surveillance cameras recorded people surging across the border illegally, overwhelming agents. The Border Patrol still catches an average of about 80 migrants a day in this sector. These five men were apprehended recently by a single sharp-eyed Border Patrol agent who noticed their footprints just as the sun was setting.


    And I was about, I don't know, maybe 175 yards from them.