On July 3, 2014, Texas Governor Rick Perry told Members of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security that urgent federal action was required to stem the humanitarian and national security crises unfolding along the Texas-Mexico border.
After almost three weeks of inaction by the Obama administration, yesterday, Gov. Perry directed Texas Adjutant General John Nichols to immediately begin preparations for the deployment of up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S. – Mexico border. These troops will support the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) ongoing law enforcement surge, Operation Strong Safety, which is focused on combatting criminal activity in the region resulting from the federal government’s failure to adequately secure the border.
In his testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security Perry said that, “The rapid influx of illegal immigrants has strained border resources that were already insufficient to the task at hand. Officials who should be guarding the border are dealing with the overflow instead of fulfilling their primary tasks.
“As a result, the border between the U.S. and Mexico is less secure today than at any time in the recent past, which is why we ordered the new surge.
“We know that drug cartels and transnational gangs are already seeking to take advantage of the situation, attempting to circumvent security and spread pain and suffering on both sides of the border through their criminal activities.
“We’re also in danger at the hands of those who might be slipping through from countries with known terrorist ties. With a range of potential threats facing us from abroad, this is not the time to turn our attention elsewhere.”
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,” Gov. Perry said. “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.”
This deployment builds upon Operation Strong Safety by providing additional personnel that will work seamlessly and side by side with law enforcement officials. It also builds on 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 – from week 1 to week 3 of operations, 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.
Perry’s office has said the Guard will largely play a role of “deter and refer” – deter border crime by their visible presence along the border and refer illegal acts, including border crossings, to law enforcement. They don’t plan to apprehend illegal immigrants, though, technically, they could, said Texas Adjutant General John Nichols.
The Texas Guard will also assist with humanitarian needs of migrants who may approach them and ask to be taken to a Border Patrol station. The Guard will be equipped with water, most will have lifesaving skills, and they will call immediately for medical help.
Two weeks ago, Gov. 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 to 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.
Originally posted at Conservative HQ