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Hundreds Of National Guard Troops Supposed To Go To Mexican Border Today, But Didn't


DOBBS: Lisa, thank you very much, as always.

Lisa Sylvester from Washington.

Tonight, the Bush administration is already falling behind on its promise of sending National Guardsmen to support our Border Patrol on our southern border. Hundreds of additional National Guard troops were supposed to begin taking up their positions on our border with Mexico beginning today. But few, if any, of those National Guard soldiers are in position tonight. Casey Wian reports.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The plan to use National Guard troops to back up the overwhelmed Border Patrol isn't so simple after all, though President Bush made it seem so today.

BUSH: We'll be training 6,000 additional agents. But in the meantime, I'm going to send 6,000 National Guard down there.

WIAN: Two weeks into the president's plan, the effort is bogged down in bureaucracy, confusion and conflict. Just last Wednesday, Guard officials told Congress the first wave of 800 troops could arrive at the border today. They haven't, because state governors have been slow to act on the president's request.

For two weeks, Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to approve his state's Guard deployment.

JOSEPH DUNN (D), CALIF. STATE SENATE: Nothing can be done by the California National Guard under the authorization of the president until Governor Schwarzenegger issues a specific order. Correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's correct.

WIAN: Today he gave that approval. Still, California Guard officials testified this week most of their boots won't hit the ground until mid-July. And California lawmakers are now outraged the state is now paying for costs associated with implementing the White House plan.

COL. DAVE BALDWIN, CALIF. NATIONAL GUARD: We have notified the National Guard Bureau that we think it would be appropriate that the federal government reimburse the state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what, if any, response have you received from the federal level?

BALDWIN: At first, a bit of confusion, because they don't understand...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's disconcerting.

WIAN: Also disconcerting, the California Guard's admission that troops could be deployed longer than the two years described by President Bush. That could easily set a precedent.

JOHN PIKE, GLOBALSECURITY.ORG: Well, I think you have to be concerned that after the National Guard gets into this mission that they might have a hard time getting out of this mission. The Congress has authorized additional personnel for the Border Patrol, has not authorized the money to hire a lot of those people. And so I think that the department of planned security, the Border Patrol, may be looking at these National Guard troops as being free government money.

WIAN: Free, at least until the National Guard is needed elsewhere.


WIAN: One Texas National Guard official sold "The El Paso Times," "We're lucky enough nothing is on the horizon pushing us to hurry up. We can take our time and plan this right."

Apparently, there's no urgency, Lou, to the thousands of illegal aliens crossing our border every day.

DOBBS: Oh, that's obviously the view of this president and the United States Senate.

Casey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of that state from which you're reporting this evening, saying that he had a lot of questions and reservations about this. Why has the governor changed his mind?

WIAN: We don't know the details of the agreement yet, but we do know that the governor was concerned about losing the effectiveness of the National Guard if they were deployed to the border for a long period of time, and also worried about a consistent issue that this state and others have had with the federal government, and that's who's going to pick up the tab?

The state is already, as we reported, bearing some costs for the National Guard even considering how it's going to deploy on the border. They want to make sure that the federal government is going to pay for that. And apparently the governor has gotten assurances that that will happen -- Lou.

DOBBS: Well, we'll find out about those assurances later here in the broadcast.

Casey Wian from Los Angeles.

Thank you very much.


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