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Maj. Gen. John Nichols: National Guard troops will undergo training, Spanish classes before being sent to border

A Tuesday hearing in Texas about Republican Gov. Rick Perry's plan to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the border sparked partisan debate about the plan's effectiveness. At the hearing, Maj. Gen. John Nichols also provided new details about the National Guard's border plans.

Nichols, who serves as the Guard's leader, said at the hearing that the troops sent to the border will undergo training for a week and a half to two weeks, including taking Spanish classes, before arriving at the border. Nichols, along with Steve McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), said he did not support Perry's deployment of the National Guard, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Rep. Sylvester Turner (D), meanwhile, argued that the number of children crossing the U.S. border has decreased since before Perry's announcement. "If those things are being driven down right now, what is the cost-benefit analysis to the state of Texas of having the surge... when there are other tremendous needs like transportation in this state?" Turner said. McCraw, however, said the plan has been effective in decreasing the number of illegal immigrants at the border.

According to McCraw, Texas' DPS has spent $5.8 million so far on the border surge. That number will increase when the guards are deployed next month.