Perry deploys Texas National Guard to border
By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor
Apparently deciding enough was enough, on Monday, July 21, Texas Gov. Rick Perry directed Texas Adjutant General John Nichols to begin preparations for the immediate deployment of up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the border.
These troops will support the Texas Department of Public Safety's (DPS) ongoing law enforcement surge, Operation Strong Safety. This surge has focused on combating criminal activity in the region attributed to the federal government's failure to adequately secure the border.
"The federal government is charged with protecting this country's borders," said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott during an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday, July 22. "Since they are unwilling to do that, it's up to the states."
Since 2008, more than 203,000 criminal aliens have been booked into Texas county jails. Over the course of their criminal careers, these individuals have committed more than 640,000 crimes in the State of Texas alone, including more than 3,000 homicides and nearly 8,000 sexual assaults.
"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. "The action I am ordering 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."
Building upon Operation Strong Safety, this deployment provides additional personnel who will work with law enforcement officials. It also augments the National Guard's existing border presence, which has been utilizing air assets to patrol the region looking for illegal activity.
Texas has already seen results from Operation Strong Safety. In just three weeks, apprehensions of illegal immigrants have dropped by 36 percent - from more than 6,600 per week to 4,200 per week in the area of operation.
Two weeks ago, Perry met with President Barack Obama to discuss the ongoing humanitarian and national security crises occurring along the Texas-Mexico border. At this meeting, the governor reiterated his request for the president to activate 1,000 Title 32 National Guard troops. These troops would temporarily support border security operations until 3,000 additional Border Patrol personnel can be trained and deployed.
Unlike the governor's activation, which will be paid for by Texas taxpayer dollars, a Title 32 activation would have provided additional, federally-funded personnel to be used at the state's discretion.
However, AG Abbott has indicated that the state will pursue legal action to cover the cost of the deployment. A White House spokesman said that the president had expected funding for additional troops to be covered under the additional $3.7 billion requested by Obama.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest described Perry's troop deployment as "generating headlines" for his anticipated run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.