Why is Obama sending troops to the Mexican border?

The president is sending 1,200 National Guardsmen to help secure America's southern border. Is this part of a strategy to pass immigration reform?

Obama is beefing up the Mexican border. Some critics are asking, "why now?"
(Image credit: Getty)

President Obama is ordering as many as 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to help fight drug trafficking and other security problems, and also asking for an additional $500 million for border enforcement. The White House says the troops are a "bridge" to longer-term solutions, including more border patrol agents. Republicans say the move is nothing more than "political theater." What's the real motive behind the deployment? (Watch a CBS report about Obama's border security boost)

Arizona forced his hand: Obama had no choice but to act, says E.J. Montini in The Arizona Republic. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and other border-state politicians desperate to keep their seats were threatening to send more troops and cash to the border if Obama didn't move first. Whatever you think of Arizona's new immigration law, this is a clear sign it "put immigration and the border back on the front burner."

"Everybody getting into the border security game"

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He's trying to build momentum for immigration reform: Obama's "token force" is just a page copied from the George W. Bush playbook, says Allahpundit in Hot Air, "making a show of border security in hopes of softening opposition to a comprehensive immigration bill." Well, it didn't work for Bush — he deployed 6,000 guardsmen, but his immigration reform efforts died in the Senate — and it "almost certainly ain't happening" for Obama, either.

"Obama to deploy 1,200 National Guardsmen to the border"

It's purely for show: The deployment of 1,200 troops is "pretty much symbolic," says John Cole in Balloon Juice. But what are Obama's other options? "Politically he had to do something like this," but "there is no fence that is going to keep people out, and we simply do not have the manpower or money needed to stop all human and drug trafficking."

"Boots on the ground"

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