CALEXICO — The 266 National Guard troops that will be deployed to Southern California's six ports of entry in mid-March will help reduce wait times for border-crossers, according to Michael Freeman, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service ports director for the Imperial Valley.
While the exact number of troops that will be deployed to each of the ports has yet to be determined, Freeman said Calexico's two ports and the Andrade Port of Entry will receive a "good number of them."
The unarmed troopers will help reduce wait times by assisting INS inspectors.
"For example, when you walk into the U.S. and pass through the magnetometer, the National Guard troops might search your bags. Right now I have inspectors doing that. With the presence of the troops I would be able to use those inspectors to open up processing lanes to reduce vehicle or pedestrian wait times," Freeman said.
The troopers also will help maintain crowd control, assist with secondary inspections and guard the Calexico East and Andrade ports after closing hours.