Trenton, N.J.—The New Jersey National Guard is prepared to send as many as 650 troops to assist federal immigration agents along the U.S.-Mexico border.
When President Bush announced plans in May to send thousands of Guard troops from across the country to support the Border Patrol, Gov. Jon S. Corzine said he thought the plan was “not well thought out.”
However, Corzine is now willing to send troops because the Pentagon has agreed to cover the cost of the deployment, gubernatorial spokesman Anthony Coley said.
The troops will be volunteers, going on the mission in lieu of annual training, and Corzine will have the right to recall them if they are needed for an emergency, Coley told The Star-Ledger of Newark.
Despite an end-of-the-month deadline to have 2,500 troops along the Mexican border, only 483 were in position Friday and working with the U.S. Border Patrol as the Bush administration had directed, according to the National Guard Bureau, an arm of the Pentagon.