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Home >> World
UPDATED: 14:16, June 24, 2006
California rejects Bush's request for more troops to U.S.-Mexico border
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California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's office said Friday that he has rejected a White House request to send more National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, fearing the commitment could leave the state vulnerable if an earthquake or wildfire erupts.

Schwarzenegger and the federal government earlier this month worked out a written agreement in which California would send 1,000 troops to the Mexican border, as part of a 6,000-strong deployment aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration.

But the governor turned down a request from Washington for 1,500 more National Guard soldiers this week.

"The governor did not feel that it was appropriate to send additional Guard out of state," said Schwarzenegger's spokesman Adam Mendelsohn in Sacramento, capital of the state.

The additional troops were to be sent to two other border states -- Arizona and New Mexico, according to a California National Guard official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A White House spokesman suggested Friday night that Schwarzenegger's position could disrupt the federal government's timetable for fortifying the border with National Guard troops.

Under President George Bush's proposal, the 6,000 National Guard soldiers from different states are to be in place by August 1, assisting federal Border Patrol agents.

Soon after Bush announced his proposal last month to use National Guard troops to shore up the often porous Mexican border, Schwarzenegger criticized the plan, calling it a wrong approach to dealing with the illegal immigration issue.

He said his state would only agree to dispatch soldiers if certain conditions were met, including limiting the number of troops and ensuring a two-year deadline for their return.

Source: Xinhua

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