Perry to Deploy National Guard Troops to Mexican Border

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from The New York Times,

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said on Monday that he would send 1,000 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico to bolster security as the Border Patrol faces an influx of Central American immigrants.

At a news conference in Austin, Governor Perry said that the border had been overwhelmed by tens of thousands of unaccompanied children entering the country illegally, and that criminals were exploiting the situation for human and drug trafficking.

The decision came after Governor Perry spent the weekend in northern Iowa, his fourth visit in eight months to that key state for political primaries, as he contemplates a second run for president. Nearly two weeks ago, Governor Perry, one of the most vocal critics of the Obama administration’s handling of the border crisis, met with President Obama in Dallas to discuss border security.

Tens of thousands of Central Americans fleeing violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have attempted to cross the state’s 1,200-mile border with Mexico in recent months. The influx of illegal immigrants, many of them children and teenagers unaccompanied by any parent or guardian, has left federal officials scrambling to find emergency shelters to house them and to manage what President Obama has called a humanitarian crisis.

… the precise role the National Guard troops will play on the border is unclear. Governor Perry said the National Guard would help with surveillance and would deploy some of its assets, like aircraft, to monitor the border.

The deployment will likely be used by both Republicans and Democrats as a new rallying point in the debate over immigration. Republicans have accused the Obama administration of failing to secure the border and helping to create the crisis with policies that encourage, rather than discourage, illegal immigration. Other Republicans in Texas and Washington have called on President Obama to deploy the National Guard to deal with the border crisis, but Governor Perry could benefit from being viewed as the first to take action. Democrats, including Texas lawmakers in the border region, immediately lined up in opposition to the deployment plan, calling it an attempt to score political points and to militarize the border.

“These military don’t need to be around families and children,” said Jennifer Saenz, a spokeswoman for Mr. Hinojosa.

Attempting to build support and momentum as he considers entering the 2016 Republican presidential race again after his disastrous campaign in 2012, Governor Perry told a group of Iowa veterans on Sunday that if President Obama failed to send troops to the border, Texas leaders would do so under their own authority.

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