Bredesen Uncertain About Increased Guard Duties On Border

Tucson, Ariz. (AP) -- Governor Bredesen says he'll have to carefully consider whether to recommend any changes in what National Guard members do in helping patrol the US-Mexico border.

Bredesen wraps up a two-day visit with Tennessee National Guard members at the border in Arizona today.

The governor says he recognizes the national debate over what guard members are allowed, and not allowed to do, on patrol.

In January four Tennessee Guardsmen encountered a group of armed men, believed to be drug smugglers. The soldiers followed training and withdrew to their post to call Border Patrol to respond. No shots were fired.

The incident prompted calls from some lawmakers in Arizona and Tennessee to expand the guard's role to include apprehending illegal immigrants and policing against drug smuggling. Opponents have said changing the guard's mission would militarize the border.

Bredesen says there's always concern about using the military for police purposes with US borders.

But the governor also says the guard members are very well trained and the problem of illegal border crossings is enormous.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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