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.