A nervous man with a duffle bag of marijuana. A pack of snorting feral pigs. A woman holding a child’s hand. A fluttering, rustling plastic bag. There’s plenty for a National Guardsman to look at on a quiet South Texas night.

Customs and Border Protection offered a firsthand look to The Associated Press at what the troops are actually doing, around the clock, in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. The sound bite for the tour, often repeated, was that the soldiers are “the eyes and ears for the Border Patrol.” And that appears to be the case.

And it now it appears the Guard’s role could continue. The one year, 1,200 troop deployment on the border was to expire June 30. But the Obama administration is asking Congress to reprogram $30 million to keep the soldiers there at least through September.

“National Guard support along the Southwest border remains in place,” said Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler on Tuesday.

The National Guard troops have augmented the Border Patrol’s 21,000 agents by almost 6 percent since July, 2010. The troops serve as lookouts but are not directly involved in actual law enforcement activities. They are credited with helping arrest 17,000 illegal immigrants, almost 6 percent of those caught, according to Customs and Border Protection. The only drug that the National Guard helped seize has been marijuana: 51,000 pounds since July, 2010 — or 2.6 percent of the almost 2 million pounds of marijuana seized by the Border Patrol during that time, said CBP.

Source: The Associated Press via Fox News.

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