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TribBlog: Last-Minute Border Plea

Border groups are urging Congress to rethink options for securing the border just days before National Guard troops arrive in the area.

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Border activists are hurling a last-minute plea at Congress to rethink deployment of additional National Guard troops to the region. Two hundred fifty soldiers are scheduled to arrive on the Texas-Mexico border Sunday.

In a letter to U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, the El Paso-based Border Network for Human Rights is reiterating its stance that militarization is a misguided attempt to appease politicians who “have an interest in portraying the border as a war zone.”

“Our communities and the taxpayer can hardly afford this expensive and ineffectual approach,” wrote BNHR Executive Director Fernando Garcia. “It is time to rethink our border policy by increasing the quality and accountability of border enforcement, not the quantity of armed agents and soldiers on our southern border."

Garcia reminded Reyes that El Paso, and most other border cities in Texas, is ranked among the safest cities in the nation.

“We believe that proposals to deploy the National Guard are ill-conceived, ineffective and dangerous to the lives of border residents. National Guard deployments have in the past been limited to emergency situations but there is no emergency situation on the U.S. side of the southern border,” he added.

There has been no lull in violence just across from El Paso in Ciudad Juárez, however. El Diario newspaper reported that residents this morning found a “narcopinta” — a painted message on a wall — reminding them and law enforcement of the car bomb that exploded in the violent city 15 days ago. It was reportedly signed by La Linea, a gang affiliated with the Juárez cartel, and warned law enforcement and residents not to aid the Sinaloa cartel, its chief rival in the area. The El Paso Times reported today that the U.S. consulate's office in Juárez was closed until further notice for security reasons. Officials there advised U.S. citizens to avoid the area until it reopened.

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