A top member of Congress called on President Obama on Monday to deploy the National Guard to the southwest border to help the Border Patrol handle the surge of illegal immigrant children.
Rep. Candice Miller, Michigan Republican and chairwoman of a key border security subcommittee, sent a letter saying that Border Patrol agents need to be put back on patrol duty rather than processing or babysitting for the children who have been caught trying to enter.
“This diversion away from normal patrol responsibilities will result in an increase of drugs and migrants illicitly crossing our border,” she said.
Ms. Miller blamed Mr. Obama’s decision to offer tentative legal status to young adult illegal immigrants already in the U.S. as the reason for the surge of children, saying it spurred rumors of legal status for new arrivals back in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — the three countries sending most of the young children that make up the surge.
She said the way to combat the surge was for Mr. Obama to make a concerted public relations push telling families in Central America that they will not be allowed to stay, and will be sent home.
The National Guard has been deployed to the border several times in recent decades to handle border security problems.
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President George W. Bush sent the guard to bridge a manpower gap while he was in the middle of a hiring spree for the Border Patrol. Guard troops were used to help build new infrastructure or enhance the Border Patrol’s intelligence capabilities.