Mexican president calls Bush about worries over militarization

President Vicente Fox has telephoned U.S. President George W. Bush to express concern about the prospect of the United States militarizing its southern border.

According to a news release from Fox's office, Bush on Sunday told his Mexican counterpart he was considering sending the National Guard to the border but said this did not constitute a militarization.

The U.S. president "is analyzing the administrative and logistical support of part of the National Guard, not the Army, to help police on the border," the release said.

Bush is expected to make a speech on how the United States should deal with border security and illegal immigrants already in the United States on Monday night.

Senior administration officials have told The Associated Press that Bush is considering using federal funds to pay for deploying National Guard troops along the border.

One defense official said military leaders believe the required number of troops could range from 3,500 to 10,000. Another administration official said the 10,000 figure was too high.

The officials insisted on anonymity since no decision has been announced.

Bush is considering the National Guard plan as he seeks support from conservatives in Congress for his immigration bill, reports the AP.

I.L.