(NBC) - Fresh off meeting with Republicans, President Obama promises to seek half a billion for extra security and send 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S. and Mexico border.
"It's simply not enough. We need 6,000," said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Obama's trying to get Republicans to help him re-do laws affecting the nation's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. He's walking a tightrope. Beefing up the border may alienate mostly Democratic Latino voters in a critical election year.
"We see that as an absolute message to the Latino and immigrant community that the President is not on their side," Gustavo Andrade of Casa de Maryland said.
At the center of this debate: Arizona's new law that requiring immigrants to instantly prove they're legal.
"There are measures in that law that specifically proscribe any type of racial profiling," John Martin of the Federation for American Immigration Reform said.
But critics say that may not be what happens on the street. Wednesday morning, a new NBC poll finds 6-in-10 Americans support the law, but there is a big racial divide.
Seventy percent of whites like it, but just under a third of Latinos.
The new law kicks in this summer.