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Official: Army will meet border troop deadline

The U.S. Army National Guard chief said Friday that it will meet the 6,000 troop, Aug. 1 deadline to help patrol the U.S.-Mexico border.
Members of the Virginia National Guard walk a patrol during a training exercise for guard volunteers who are being deployed to the Arizona border with Mexico Tuesday.
Members of the Virginia National Guard walk a patrol during a training exercise for guard volunteers who are being deployed to the Arizona border with Mexico Tuesday.Steve Helber / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Army National Guard will meet its Aug. 1 deadline for deploying troops to help along the Mexican border, the Guard chief said Friday.

Lt. Gen. Steven Blum said about 3,600 soldiers are in the Southwest border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

“That number will grow to up to 6,000 by the first of August, as promised,” he told a Pentagon news conference.

The deployments are part of an immigration plan announced by President Bush in mid-May. Troops are helping with aerial reconnaissance and in shoring up infrastructure like roads and sensors. That is designed to free immigration agents to focus on law enforcement.

Blum said he spoke to correct reports that the Guardsmen were not arriving on time.