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Money drying up for National Guard at border

August 30, 2011|By Brian Bennett
(Don Barletti for the Times )

The 1,200 National Guard troops deployed along the Southwest border could be going home on Sept. 30 unless the Department of Defense agrees to cover the cost.

The military pays $10 million a month to keep the troops on the border to assist the Border Patrol in spotting illegal crossings and smugglers.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Tuesday that her department offered to cover the tab, but Congress said no.

“It comes down to whether [the Department of Defense] has the resources to maintain the Guard at the border. But we have enough to get us through the end of the fiscal year. We certainly will have very good conversations with secretary of Defense about continuation,” Napolitano told reporters in Washington on Tuesday.

The contingent of National Guard troops was sent to assist the Border Patrol in last August as part of a $600-million funding authorization that also allowed the Homeland Security Department to hire 1,000 additional Border Patrol agents, 250 officers at ports of entries and 250 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

brian.bennett@latimes.com

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