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PHOENIX - Gov. Janet Napolitano on Wednesday ordered more National Guardsmen posted at the Mexican border to help stop illegal immigrants and curb related crimes.
National Guard troops have worked at the border since 1988, but Napolitano signed an order authorizing commanders to station an unspecified number of additional soldiers there to help federal agents.
Once the funding is approved, the troops will monitor crossing points, assist with cargo inspection and operate surveillance cameras, according to the order.
"They are not there to militarize the border," the governor said. "We are not at war with Mexico."
About 200,000 immigrants were detained last year on Mexico's southern border, most of them from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador
Although Mexico demands that its citizens' rights be protected when they illegally enter the United States, immigrants who cross illegally into Mexico "are often ripped off six ways until sundown," says George Grayson, a professor at the College of William & Mary