By Michael Gardner, U-T SACRAMENTO BUREAU
Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 10:25 p.m.
SACARAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday will order 224 California National Guard troops to the border with Mexico, fulfilling an earlier commitment to President Barack Obama.
In may, Obama launched a plan to deploy 1,200 National Guard troops to the southwest border, alarmed by a tide of smuggled drugs and immigrants and pummeled politically over illegal immigration.
Schwarzenegger earlier pledged California’s full cooperation with federal initiatives to secure the border and attack the narcotics trade.
“This is just the beginning,” Schwarzenegger said last month. “We must find a more permanent solution to our broken immigration system.”
Schwarzenegger has long supported a larger military presence along the border in San Diego and Imperial counties, quickly endorsing previous buildups President George W. Bush.
However, the governor has largely refused to embrace aggressive measures cracking down on illegal immigrants, such as the new Arizona law that gives local law enforcement the ability to check immigration status if they reasonably believe the person may have crossed the border without documents.
In the order to be released Friday morning, the governor urged his adjutant general to “use volunteers to the maximum extent possible.”
In addition, Schwarzenegger’s order defines the state guard’s role more as supportive, noting that forces, while armed, “will not be deployed in a direct law enforcement role.”
Schwarzenegger limits the deployment to one year.
Michael Gardner: (916) 445-2934; firstname.lastname@example.org
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