Lawmaker: Texas to Send 1,000 Guardsmen to Border

Christopher Sherman and Will Weissert, AP, July 21, 2014

Gov. Rick Perry, a vocal critic of the White House’s response to the surge of children and families entering the U.S. illegally, plans to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border, a local lawmaker confirmed Monday.

Perry, who is mulling a second presidential run after his 2012 bid flamed out in a series of public gaffes, spent part of the weekend in Iowa, where he questioned President Barack Obama’s commitment to securing the border and said Texas would do so if the federal government did not.

State Rep. Terry Canales said he was briefed by his staff Sunday following a conference call with the governor’s office, the Texas National Guard and the state Department of Public Safety. Perry’s office hasn’t commented, but he is scheduled to make the announcement Monday afternoon at the state Capitol in Austin.

More than 3,000 Border Patrol agents currently work in the region, and Perry has repeatedly asked Obama to send the National Guard to the border. Much of the area has been overwhelmed in recent months by tens of thousands of unaccompanied children illegally entering the U.S.


As governor, Perry is commander in chief of Texas military forces unless those forces have already been mobilized by the White House. President George W. Bush sent 6,000 National Guard troops to the border in 2006, and Obama eventually extended that deployment while ordering a second wave of National Guard forces to Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico in 2010. But the second round saw reduced numbers of troops, and most of their work was limited to air patrols in counterdrug operations.

Perry announced last month that Texas would steer another $1.3 million each week to the Department of Public Safety to assist in border security through at least the end of the year. {snip}


On previous border deployments, National Guard soldiers have served in support roles–administrative, intelligence gathering–while the Border Patrol expanded its ranks. Some National Guard troops already participate in counter-drug operations on the border, though they don’t have arrest powers.


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