Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama asked Congress on Tuesday to approve $600 million in emergency spending for steps to increase security along the border with Mexico, a key issue in the immigration reform debate.
In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Obama said the money would pay for hiring 1,000 new border patrol agents and 160 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, two unmanned aircraft systems and other support for border security.
Obama's letter also said the spending would be partially offset by canceling a $100-million Homeland Security program that the president described as "lower priority."
Republican critics complain that Obama has failed to devote proper resources to border security, which they say contributes to an untenable flow of illegal immigrants into the country from Mexico.
Obama contends that border security is one aspect of comprehensive immigration reform needed to deal with the illegal immigration issue.
Last month, administration officials disclosed that Obama planned to deploy up to 1,200 more National Guard troops to the border with Mexico and request the additional money referred to in Tuesday's letter.
A previous troop deployment to the border region, called Operation Jump Start, ended in 2008. The operation sent more than 6,000 troops to California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to repair secondary border fence, construct nearly 1,000 metal barriers and fly Border Patrol agents by helicopter to intercept illegal immigrants.
How does that fit into his plan of signing an executive order to give all illegals amnesty? Or is he going to make them like Wal-Mart greeters.
Kind of late I guess the only reason you want this now is to help get votes.
I guess you and your group are still going to try and stop the AZ law because you wouldm't do anything before now.
I know the only reason November will be here soon.
Lousy leader and a worse president....he wants the illegals here....He is catering to votes....just a dirt bag lying politician.
Not a man.
Not a leader.
Just a thief cheat from chicago.
Illegal imigrents in San Francisco, CA. my home city , make more money in one day selling marajuana in the mission distric then I make in my social security check for a month.
who's kidding about a lifetime of work and just hangiing out in gangs.
Where are the troops for the border? One Thousand new agents is nowhere near enough and the border needs to be secured now with troops not paper pushers.
About time and thanks for finally taking steps to make our borders secure. My only regret is that 1,000 more agents spread out across the border is not enough. At least 10,000 are needed; but this is a good start and demonsrates that the Administration is finally giving some priority to preserving our borders. In fact, redirect some of that stimulus money that has yet to be spent on jobs and put it towards the Border Patrol for more agents, gear, aircraft, weapons, and let's start considering them just as necessary to our nation's defense of our borders as the military. With all the drug cartels on the border now making threats to American law enforcement personnel, this needs to be viewed as another war front and funded as such.
Why start protecting the borders now? Better wait until after the elections so the illegals can vote Democrat.
Guess what republicans will harp about tomorrow: Obama is SPENDING too much money. Nevermind that it was spending THEY asked for REPEATEDLY for YEARS! Now that they get 100% of what they ask for I'm sure they'll find an excuse to oppose it anyway!