Stateline.org reports that the National Guard is underequipped for the hurricane season, because of all the equipment its units have left in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, while the number of troops abroad has decreased, the White House is now considering another mission for the Guard: to patrol the Mexican border.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and one of two border-state governors to declare a state of emergency because of the influx of illegal immigrants, told the Washington Post that the proposed deployment puts further strain on the Guard.
Richardson (D) said he was concerned that the administration had not consulted directly with him and other governors of border states. "While the immediate deployment of troops may create a short-term fix, it creates further problems and concerns regarding our National Guard troops who may be called upon to respond to other emergencies and natural disasters," he said.
But the idea, which Bush is likely to announce during a prime time announcement Monday, is drawing fire from a key Republican, too, The Associated Press reports.
Criticism of the National Guard plan came Sunday from Democrats, but also an important Republican negotiator in the immigration debate -- Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. He said National Guard troops cannot secure the border over the long term and that he does not think it is wise even in the short term.
As if to underscore the many, many missions of the National Guard, the governors of New Hampshire and Massachusetts declared states of emergency and mobilized the National Guard to respond to flooding there today.