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Guard ready if needed at border, WV Guard official says

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A high-ranking official with the West Virginia National Guard said if President Barack Obama decides to send the Guard to the nation’s border, troops will be ready.

“If the president decides it, it is a good mission for us. We have [gone down to the border] before,” Brig. Gen. David Buckalew, a leader of the West Virginia National Guard, said. “We have a fairly small element that participated before. Some of the Southwestern border states had more [Guardsmen] involved. It is more significant to them.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent a letter to President Obama June 20, asking him to immediately dispatch National Guard troops to stop thousands of children from crossing the border into the United States from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico.

“The policies of your administration have directly resulted in the belief by these immigrants that once they reach U.S. soil, they will be able to stay here indefinitely,” Boehner wrote. “…Your administration should immediately deploy the National Guard to our southern border.”

Boehner asked the White House to immediately “enforce our laws” and “stem the tide of migrants.”

The goals of previous missions on the border were very different, Buckalew stressed.

“Looking for children — I don’t know how that would change the mission,” he said. “But in the past, our mission was directed more toward counter-drug work. Historically, that has been our concern.

“This slant is with young refugees. That is different. That might change the whole mission,” Buckalew said.

The West Virginia National Guard has not discussed this issue, Buckalew said.


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