White House spokeswoman Emily A. Lawrimore said the Border Patrol would have to answer questions about the memo calling for volunteers, and she would not comment on the decision to draw down Guard troops except to say they were “intended to provide temporary support to the Border Patrol while it recruited more agents and infrastructure projects were started.”
In October, Mr. Bush signed a law committing to fence nearly 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. The Secure Fence Act culminated a two-year debate in Congress over immigration, won by House Republicans who insisted on an enforcement-first policy.
The bill authorizes double-tiered fencing and support roads along some of the most-porous parts of the U.S.-Mexico border, including much of Arizona — the nation’s leading immigration and drug-smuggling corridor.
As of June, 13 miles of new border fencing had been built.
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