SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The first wave of California National Guard troops have deployed to help patrol the state's border with Mexico in support of President Barack Obama's effort to bolster security along the Southwest border, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Wednesday in San Diego.
In total, 224 soldiers and airmen, who recently completed their training, will be in the field by Sept. 1, according to the governor's office.
"Today, our National Guard has been called to help secure the border and protect the safety of the American people, and I am proud that we are the first state to have our troops trained and operational for this mission," Schwarzenegger said.
"These men and women will provide much-needed assistance to help secure our border, but it's important to remember that this is only the beginning," he said. "We must find a permanent solution to our broken immigration system. We need the federal government to step up with even more manpower and funding, and I will continue to push President Obama and Congress for action."
Schwarzenegger went to a Border Patrol Station in San Diego to be briefed by the California National Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the status of the mission on the California-Mexico border.
According to the governor's office, the California National Guard deployment will be for up to one year in support of federal counter-narcotics and border security operations.
The National Guard troops will be assisting Border Patrol agents, watching from strategic remote sites and reporting any suspicious activity, according to the governor's office.
"The California National Guard is proud to be at the forefront of homeland security, helping to secure our nation's borders," said Brig. Gen. Mary Kight. "Our soldiers and airmen bring a high level of civilian expertise and military training to the mission that allows them to be a superb force
multiplier to the Border Patrol."
Obama has called for the deployment of 1,200 National Guard troops along the Southwest border. Congress recently approved $600 million in funding to pay for the additional troops along the border, new unmanned aerial vehicles and communication equipment.