WASHINGTON, May 26 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama looks to deploy 1,200 National Guard members along the U.S.-Mexico border to stop illegal immigration and drug-related violence.
Obama announced the reinforcements and a request to Congress for $500 million to fund the program after meeting Tuesday with Republican senators about legislative priorities. The Republicans seem to want immigration reform to take a front position.
U.S. Sen. John McCain, a Republican whose home state of Arizona is at the center of the border issue, said the president's plan is "simply not enough." He asked for 6,000 troops and $2.5 billion for the border security effort.
The bolstering of the border comes in the wake of an Arizona law, which goes into effect this summer, requiring local authorities to check the immigration status of people stopped as suspects of law violations. It also follows the state visit of Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who condemned the Arizona law and said the United States needs to do more to stop the flow of guns into his country and fight drug trafficking, which is behind the surge in violence in Mexico.
It is estimated as many as three-quarters of the 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States entered from Mexico.
It was unclear when the extra National Guard troops would be deployed but the Obama request for funding isn't expected to head to Congress until after the Memorial Day recess.