Obama’s Troop Deployment to Border Draws Rebuke From Both Sides
President Obama’s decision today to deploy 1,200 National Guard troops to beef up security on the U.S.-Mexico border, at a cost of $500 million, has fallen short of a GOP embrace and at the same time alienated some of his progressive allies.
Obama’s move — seemingly an overture to win Republican support for immigration reform after meeting with GOP senators earlier today — earned a backhanded response from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and was likewise chided by the leading pro-immigration reform group America’s Voice.
“Americans are hungry for real leadership on immigration, but this move by the President serves only to reward those who are standing in the way of real reform,” Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, told me in an e-mail, alleging Obama has taken “one step forward and two steps back.”
McCain, who reportedly requested a deployment during the meeting, said he “appreciate[s]” the president’s intention but thinks the move is “simply not enough” to tackle Arizona’s border woes. McCain “called for 6,000 National Guard troops to be sent, and he asked for $250 million more to pay for them,” The Associated Press reports.
Still, Sharry considers Obama’s decision a major concession to anti-immigration forces.
“Caving in to McCain and Kyl on ‘border-only’ immigration policy echoes the Democrats’ cave-in on immigration in the health care exchange following Joe Wilson’s rude outburst,” Sharry said. “It even echoes the eyebrow-raising White House announcement of support for offshore drilling.”
Neither of those moves, of course, won much Republican support.
Sahil Kapur is Washington correspondent for Raw Story and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and The Guardian.