Governor Matt Blunt is on his way to the Mexican border today in Yuma, Arizona to visit about 200 Missouri National Guard troops serving there.
Here's the Associated Press story:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Matt Blunt was to fly Wednesday to Yuma, Ariz., to visit about 200 Missouri National Guard soldiers deployed there to help secure the Mexican border.
The Guard members, who volunteered from various units across the state, departed Sept. 11 for Arizona and are to come back to Missouri on Sept. 28, said Guard spokeswoman Capt. Tamara Spicer. They are part of President Bush's initiative announced in May to use about 6,000 National Guard members from across the country to support the Border Patrol. Blunt praised Bush's plan at that time and offered Missouri's assistance.
Spicer said much smaller groups of Missouri Army and Air National Guard members had already volunteered for other border patrol missions.
Traveling with Blunt on the military plane will be Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, state Sen. Bill Alter, R-High Ridge, and National Guard Chief of Staff Col. Dwight Lusk, said Blunt spokesman Spence Jackson.
"The issue of immigration in general is one that a lot of states and our federal government are dealing with," Jackson said. "This will give him an opportunity to go to the border and hear directly from people involved in guarding it about the challenges they face."
On Tuesday, Blunt directed all executive state agencies to start using a new hiring procedure by Oct. 6 to verify that prospective employees are legally in the United States. The Internet-based program by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service allows employers to enter information already collected on federally required employment forms into an automated system to verify its authenticity.