Democratic and Republican lawmakers from border states are asking President Barack Obama to send National Guard troops to the southern borderand to allow them to shoot back.


We urge you to deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border, as has been requested by a number of border state governors, the group of lawmakers wrote to Obama Wednesday. Any National Guard troops that are deployedshould be armed and allowed to defend themselves if fired upon or attacked.


The letter was spearheaded by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and signed by Democratic Reps. Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.) and Harry Teague (N.M.), among others.


The move echoes calls from Arizonas Republican senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl, to send 3,000 troops to the states southern border after the murder of rancher Rob Krentz.


The request is also backed by the National Border Patrol Council, the section of the AFL-CIO union that represents border patrol employees.


This letter is also the latest salvo in the accelerating debate on immigration, especially in wake of a new Arizona law that requires police to ask people for citizenship papers if they have a reasonable suspicion that someone is in the U.S. illegally. McCain, who had been a moderate voice on immigration, has backed the law, calling it a step forward and a good tool.


Giffords has also stepped carefully around the law, calling it a response to frustration with Washingtons failure to secure the southern border.


When asked whether the law was a reasonable response to the federal governments inaction, she said: It is a response.


Giffords, who is politically vulnerable this fall, rejected a call from colleague Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who wants businesses to boycott the state because of the new law. I do not support a boycott, Giffords said.


I support immigration reform. What that means, though, is securing the border first, Giffords said.

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