More than 30 National Guard members have begun their deployment as part of the administration’s border protection plan, according to Special Agent Mario Escalante with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Troops will continue to arrive over the next two months, with an expected force of 532 members by the end of October, said Lt. Valentine Castillo of the Arizona National Guard.
Top Republicans — including Arizona Sen. John McCain and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer — have repeatedly accused Obama of failing to provide sufficient security along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The president signed a bill on August 13 providing $600 million in emergency funding to help secure the border.
Among other things, the bill provides for roughly 1,500 new law enforcement agents, new unmanned aerial vehicles, new forwarding operating bases, and $14 million in new communications equipment.
Predator Unmanned Aerial System flights will begin Wednesday out of Corpus Christi, Texas, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Monday. Those flights will give the department unmanned aerial capabilities from California to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas.
Castillo said the troops participating in the operation will be assisting Customs and Border Protection with criminal intelligence and entry identifications. They will not have law enforcement powers, he said.