Gov. Rick Perry to send 1,000 National Guard troops to US-Mexico border

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to announce Monday afternoon that he's sending 1,000 National Guard troops to stem the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico, according to state legislators.

A state lawmaker says Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to South Texas to bolster security along the Mexico border.

Rep. Terry Canales says he was briefed by his staff on Sunday following a conference call with the governor's office, Texas National Guard and the state Department of Public Safety. Perry is scheduled to make the announcement Monday afternoon.

The Monitor reports that state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen also confirmed that Perry plans to call out the National Guard.

Hinojosa did not have details of the effort, but an internal memo from another state official’s office said the governor planned to call about 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Rio Grande Valley — at a cost of about $12 million per month.

The memo was provided to The Monitor on the condition of anonymity because the information is not yet public.

Troops are expected to enter the area gradually, building up to 1,000 after about a month, the memo said.

The troops will join the Texas Department of Public Safety in its recent surge to combat human smuggling and drug trafficking amid the influx of mostly Central Americans illegally crossing the Rio Grande.

“This is not a militarization of the border,” the memo states. “The DPS and the National Guard are working to keep any drug and human trafficking south of (U.S. Highway) 83 and with the goal of keeping any smuggling from entering major highways to transport East/West/and North.”

More than 3,000 Border Patrol agents currently work in South Texas, and Perry has repeatedly asked President Barack Obama to send the National Guard to the border.

The Christian Science Monitor looked at the pros and cons of sending in the National Guard to protect the US-Mexico border.

In an election year, it also makes good politics. Securing the border is a key GOP demand on the immigration issue generally. The first reaction from the speaker’s office to the White House request for emergency funding on Tuesday was to note that it did not include the National Guard. 

Why is the administration reluctant?

The main reason is that enforcement is not the issue, according to the Obama administration. These unaccompanied child migrants – with as many as 90,000 expected to be apprehended by the time this fiscal year finishes at the end of September – are not trying to evade border patrol agents. They are looking for them, hoping that the patrol will pass them through a clogged-up processing system that allows them to stay in the United States. 

In June, Perry announced that the state would steer another $1.3 million each week to the Department of Public Safety to assist in border security through at least the end of the year.

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