AUSTIN (CBS 11 NEWS) – On Monday, Governor Rick Perry deployed up to 1,000 National Guard and some state guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border.
At a news conference at the State Capitol, the Governor said, “The price of inaction is too high for Texans to pay.”
Governor Perry’s action came nearly two weeks after he met with President Obama in Dallas and requested the federal government send the National Guard to the border. Nothing has happened since then he says and his calls during the past several years have been ignored.
Since October, 2008, the Governor says more than 203,000 criminals have entered Texas and committed more than 642,000 crimes in the state. He says, “Thousands of lives have been impacted forever, all because the federal government’s lip service and empty promises.”
Right now, state leaders are figuring out which units will be mobilized in the next 30 days to help state law enforcement detect and prevent criminals from entering the U.S.
The Governor said, “These are individuals who come from our communities, our teachers, our neighbors, our brothers, our sisters, and they’re also in our National Guard.”
“We’re going to work along side law enforcement officers,” explained Texas Adjutant General John Nichols, who oversees the Guard. “We’re going to help them detect and prevent criminals from infiltrating the international border.”
Last month, Governor Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, and House Speaker Joe Straus ordered the Department of Public Safety to spend $1.3 million each week to conduct border surge operations around the clock until the end of the year. It’s called Operation Strong Safety. When state officers find illegal immigrants, they refer them to U.S. Border Patrol agents.
Governor Perry says from the first to the third week of the state’s surge operations, apprehensions of illegal immigrants fell from 6,600 per week to 4,200 per week, a 36-percent drop.
Since October 1, about 57,000 unaccompanied children have fled violence in Central America and illegally crossed into Texas. Many more adults have done the same.
Deploying the Guard will cost about $12 million each month.
Attorney General and Republican candidate for Governor, Greg Abbott says the federal government needs to pay the state back. “Texans are willing to put boots on the ground, but we expect Washington to foot the bill.”
If the federal government doesn’t reimburse the state, Abbott raised the possibility the state would sue the federal government.
But State Senator and Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis of Fort Worth blasted Governor Perry’s announcement. “We need boots on the ground there but the Governor has sent the wrong boots to be on the ground.”
Davis also said she’s disappointed the Governor hasn’t called a special legislative session to hear local leaders from border communities tell what they need.
Other Democrats, including State Representative Roberto Alonzo of Dallas say Governor Perry is unnecessarily militarizing the border. “The kids are not causing a problem that would necessitate having one thousand troops.”
But conservative blogger Adam Cahn beleives the Governor’s action is a good first step. “This is both a humanitarian and a national security crisis. We need to have justice and we need to have mercy.”
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