While waiting for the federal government to do something about the situation on the border with Mexico, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has decided to take action into his own hands, ordering a deployment of Texas National Guard troops.
Perry said the majority of those crossing the border are here to commit crimes and only a small percentage are unaccompanied minors.
Perry said he will use his executive authority to activate the Texas National Guard to support the Department of Public Safety’s Operation Strong Safety, which was designed to help the US Border Patrol secure the border.
“And as the brave men and women of our border patrol are pulled away from their law enforcement duties to give humanitarian aid, the drug cartels, human traffickers and individual criminals are exploiting this tragedy for their own criminal opportunities.
“I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor," Perry said. "That is why today I’m using my executive authority as governor of Texas and activating the National Guard.”
Texas National Guard Adjunct Gen. John Nichols said the troops' role will not involve detaining individuals, but rather serve as a physical presence to deter people from crossing.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said his office will also be working closely with the governor’s office and the Texas National Guard to provide legal counsel regarding the deployment of these troops. Abbott is also considering litigation against the federal government.
“We don’t want or expect this situation to lead to litigation," Abbott said. "Texans are willing to put the boots on the ground, but we expect Washington to foot the bill.”
The number of troops that are deployed will gradually increase until they reach 1,000. Those troops will be assigned to the Rio Grande Valley in an area of the state Perry said is the epicenter of illegal activity along the border. The effort is expected to cost $12 million per month.