In a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer requested an increase in U.S. military presence on the Arizona-Mexico border. Governor Brewer specifically asked for an increase of approximately 250 troops.
Brewer stated in a news release from her office that "Arizona communities are negatively affected by the impacts of the illegal drug trade and related border violence, and enforcement agencies in all jurisdictions are stretched as they attempt to address the enormity of the problems." Brewer further stated that " Our citizens must be protected from border violence. Arizona and other U.S./Mexico border states continue to be confronted by a number of unique and disproportionate challenges relative to other states and we bear significant un-reimbursed costs in the public, non-profit and business sectors associated with border related challenges."
The Arizona border with Mexico is 350 miles long and the Arizona Department of Homeland Security recently ranked it as the most porous in the nation with the highest rate of interdiction. If Brewer's request for more troops are granted it would bring the total to approximately 400 troops.
Citing the enormity of the growing problem on the border, Brewer emphasized in her letter that Arizona on its own cannot and should not face the prospect of sustaining forces to address what is a federal responsibility. The Governor added that support provided pursuant to Title 32, Section 112 of the United States Code for National Guard activities along the border is both a lawful, justified and prudent step to take at this time.