By | Stephen Dinan
Blaming budget cuts, the Obama administration early next year will cut the number of National Guard troops patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border by at least half, according to a congressman who was briefed on the plan.
The National Guard said an announcement will be made by the White House “in the near future,” but Rep. Duncan Hunter, a California Republican who has learned of the plans, said slashing the deployment in half is the minimum number, and he said it will mean reshuffling the remaining troops along the nearly 2,000-mile border.
In California, that will mean going from 264 Guard troops down to just 14, he said.
Mr. Hunter said the pending cuts are another reason Congress and President Obama should revisit the automatic defense spending reductions that kicked in with the failure last month of the deficit super-committee to reach a broader spending deal.
“What’s apparent now is that a decision not to continue their deployment, even though it might be in the national interest to do so, would be based entirely on budget constraints on the Defense Department,” Mr. Hunter said.
Mr. Obama deployed 1,200 guard troops to the border in June 2010 in an effort to bolster the U.S. Border Patrol and try to prevent the growing drug violence in Mexico from spilling into the U.S.
He charged the National Guard with aiding in intelligence-gathering and other backup duties, though troops have not been actually enforcing immigration laws.
Read the complete article at The Washington Times.