Governor Rick Perry today announced his intention to deploy up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border. While Perry cited criminal and cartel violence as his reason, the move comes following the recent surge of Central American children into Texas. Some 60,000 undocumented and unaccompanied kids are expected to come into the United States by the end of the year.
News of Perry's plan broke over the weekend, but today's official announcement still comes as a bold statement to both the Obama administration and immigration reform advocates. Perry stated that he intends for the troops to act as temporary support to Operation Strong Safety, a recent Texas Department of Public Safety initiative to crack down on illegal entry and criminal activity at the border.
"There can be no national security without border security, and Texans have paid too high a price for the federal government's failure to secure our border," Perry said in a statement. "The action I am ordering today will tackle this crisis head-on by multiplying our efforts to combat the cartel activity, human traffickers and individual criminals who threaten the safety of people across Texas and America."
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Perry is expected to send about 1,000 troops to the border, and by some estimates, the move will cost Texas taxpayers as much as $12 million per month.
Two weeks ago, when Perry and Obama met for a 15 minute helicopter conversation on the border crisis, Perry requested that troops be sent to the border. He intended for the troops to increase border security until roughly 3,000 new border patrol agents could complete training. Obama said he might be open to the ideas, but had yet to take action. Perry's decision to order up the National Guard on his own authority means Texas taxpayers will foot the bill for the deployment.