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Salinas said the one-year National Guard mission is a stopgap measure to give U.S. Customs and Border Protection time to hire more agents. But worsening cartel violence in Mexico and several high-profile killings on the U.S. side have raised calls for more National Guardsmen along the border, even though illegal immigration and crime in the region have declined.

Border-state legislators from both parties - particularly after the Dec. 14 killing of a Border Patrol agent just north of Nogales - say they view the U.S. military presence as a long-term necessity, despite rules that mostly limit the Guardsmen to watching the fence line and prevent them from making arrests or seizing drugs. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/04/AR2011010405296.html

By Nick Miroff -- Washington Post

Illegal Immigration
border control