The U.S. government has decided to extend the deployment of National Guard troops to the border with Mexico by three months.
Stationed in the border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, the 1,200 soldiers, who were scheduled to withdraw in June, will continue to assist the Border Patrol in their operations at least until September 30.
The Defense Department has allocated $35 million to fund the deployment.
The use of National Guard troops has helped bring about the arrests of 17,000 additional illegal immigrants, as well as the seizure of 51,000 pounds of marijuana. This comes to six percent of the illegal immigrants and 2.6 percent of marijuana confiscated by the border patrol, according to the Associated Press (AP)
The politically popular move has been criticized. Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told the AP that he doubts the additional deployment will make a significant impact, explaining that “Short-term deployments do little to enhance long-term security concerns.”
High levels of drug violence in north Mexico have led to concern in the U.S. about a possible "spillover effect" bringing the conflict into the southern states of the country.