National Guard to bolster border security

| 12/4/2001

Attorney General John Ashcroft on Sunday said several hundred National Guard members and military helicopters would be added at U.S.-Canadian crossings to improve security and speed the flow of trade. An initial deployment would send about 420 National Guard troops to 43 land, sea and air ports of entry in 12 states.

Ashcroft said on "Fox News Sunday" that increased security has caused border congestion, which hurts both nations. "We really want to be able to do a better job all along the border," Ashcroft said.

To bolster security following Sept. 11, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) sent 120 inspectors to border checkpoints. The addition of the National Guard would bolster INS efforts along the northern border and allow workers who have been at the border since to return to their regular duties.

Prior to the National Guard addition, the U.S.-Canadian border has been guarded by about 500 U.S. agents, compared to about 9,000 along the Mexican border. The National Guard also will reportedly supply, intelligence analysis and training, threat assessments and additional personnel.

The announcement follows New York Gov. George Pataki's renewed push last week to streamline truck traffic on the border. Pataki suggested moving inspections to sites away from the border and adding technology.