National Guard for Mexican border

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The Independent US

George Bush is sending thousands of National Guardsmen to beef up security on the 2,000-mile US border with Mexico, in an attempt to win conservative support for a sweeping reform of immigration laws.

Under the plan, announced by Mr Bush last night in a prime-time national television address last night, some 5,000 members of the National Guard will be sent to the region. Their mission will last up to 18 months, involving "logistical" and support work.

The move comes as the Senate prepares to take up once more a bipartisan proposal for the biggest overhaul to US immigration rules in two decades. The measure - which foundered on conservative opposition just before Easter - would set out a structured guest worker programme, as well as a mechanism for long-term illegal immigrants to seek US citizenship.