Phoenix, AZ – There are currently 560 soldiers assigned to border security duties in Arizona, part of a force of 12-hundred approved last year by the administration. But the plans are to start phasing them out by the middle of next month, with all of them gone by the end of June. And prior calls by border governors to keep them there have gone unheeded. But Lt. Valentine Castillo of the Arizona National Guard said federal Guard officials are now asking their local counterparts for what he called -- quote -- input on different courses of action. And one of those would be to extend the mission. That has heartened Gov. Jan Brewer who sent a letter to Obama asking him to keep the soldiers there. Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson.
(With illegal cross-border trafficking continuing as well as drug smuggling and human trafficking, this is no time for the federal government to withdraw National Guard from the border.)
There are other indications the troops could remain. In an interview with Reuters, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the administration is weighing that option and that the soldiers -- quote -- have proven to be very, very useful at the border. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.