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Obama set to send 1,200 troops to US-Mexico border

Photo by Donnie Ikpa

Photo by Donnie Ikpa

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will deploy 1,200 National Guard troops to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border, according to an administration official and an Arizona congresswoman.

Obama will also request $500 million for border protection and law enforcement activities, they said.

The National Guard troops will work on intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence and blocking drug trafficking.

The development comes as Republican senators were preparing to push for such measures in Senate legislation.

In 2006, President George W. Bush sent thousands of troops to the border to perform support duties that tie up immigration agents. The troops wouldn't perform significant law enforcement duties.

That program has since ended, and politicians in border states have called for troops to be sent there to curb human and drug smuggling and prevent Mexico's drug violence from spilling over into the United States.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., said in a statement that the administration would announce the deployments later in the day. An Obama administration official discussed the move on condition of anonymity because it had not yet been announced.

A protester shouts as he joins thousands attending an immigration rally at the Arizona Capitol on Sunday, April, 25, 2010. Activists called on President Barack Obama to fight a tough new Arizona law targeting illegal immigrants, promising Sunday to march in the streets and invite arrest by refusing to comply if the measure goes into effect. U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona told about 3,500 protesters gathered at the state Capitol that the Obama administration can help defeat the law by refusing to cooperate. The law requires Arizona police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion they're in the country illegally, saying it would undoubtedly lead to racial profiling. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)