Texas Gov. Rick Perry Is Sending 1,000 Troops To Secure The Texas-Mexico Border
Speaking at an event in Iowa over the weekend, Texas Gov. Rick Perry vowed that he wouldn't wait for the Feds to act on the influx of children from Central America. “If the federal government does not do its constitutional duty to secure the southern border of the United States, the state of Texas will do it,” Perry said. Now, he is making good on that promise. Perry announced at a press conference Monday afternoon that he will send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to secure the Texas-Mexico border.
Texas state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa confirmed Perry's announcement plans to south Texas newspaper The Monitor. The memo for the announcement, given to The Monitor on the condition of anonymity, outlines a plan to gradually introduce troops to the border, ending up with 1,000 over the span of a month.
After meeting with Perry earlier this month, President Barack Obama said that he was amenable to the idea of sending National Guard troops to the border, but noted it would be a short-term solution and hasn't yet called for a mobilization of personnel. Last week, Rep. Steve King of Iowa announced a resolution, signed by 26 GOP lawmakers, that would grant the governors of Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona the Constitutional authority to "take action to secure the international border of the United States within their States."
Though Perry has the authority to mobilize the troops, it also means that Texas taxpayers will have to pick up the check at around $5 million per week, the memo estimates.
Though Perry said it was not a "militarization" of the border, he is clearly flexing the state's strength. On a July 13 appearance on Fox News Sunday, Perry said that moving the checkpoints right up to the Rio Grande River and increasing border personnel would help stem the flow of migrants.
"They need to be there as a show of force, because that's the message that gets sent back very quickly to Central America," he told Fox.
He also noted that the National Guard's presence would allow border patrol agents to return to their duties of keeping "bad people" and "drug cartels" from crossing the Texas-Mexico border. He noted that the surge of children, up to 57,000 between October and June, made the border patrol agents "distracted."
The announcement does seem a bit like political chess. Perry, a possible contender for the 2016 GOP presidential bid, was joined by the frontrunner in the Texas gubernatorial race, Republican Greg Abbott.