Perry Isn't Giving National Guard Troops Arresting Power, and That's for the Best
Photo by Bryan Williams
As we continue to follow Gov. Rick Perry's quest to stay viable as GOP 2016 White House contender, we have to wonder how he has actually convinced himself that putting a whole bunch of armed people on the border is in any way a good idea.
Was there a hypnotist involved? Or maybe a life coach with a really weird sense of humor? Perry has been acting awfully strange these days, donning the smart guy glasses and eschewing cowboy boots -- maybe aliens got him? It's a puzzler, but either way Perry is sending more than 1,000 National Guard troops to the Rio Grande Valley, and they were said to have had the potential to become the fanciest kind of National Guard troops, the kind allowed to actually arrest people.
Since Perry ordered the troops to the border instead of the federal government, experts have said that Perry has the ability to allow said troops to start arresting and apprehending some of the illegal immigrants aka undocumented migrants (aka a bunch of kids that have been turning themselves in at the border in large numbers for months), according to the Los Angeles Times.
Take a bunch of troops (say 1,000 of them) and combine them with a bunch of people roaming the border and a bunch of people who live near it, what could possibly go wrong? A whole lot of things, is the short and fairly optimistic answer. These types of troops don't tend to deal with border immigration because they aren't trained on how to handle it, as the LA Times points out.
Heck, the border agents who have been trained to handle it haven't always done a spectacular job. Back in 1997 a Marine shot and killed a Latino teenager, a Texas goat herder named Esequiel Hernandez Jr. He was 18 years old. It was a big deal at the time, and it's the story everyone is harkening back to when they consider what it will be like having border agents take a more direct role in dealing with the people they come across down on the border. Last year border agents also allegedly shot Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a 16-year-old from Mexico. And these are the people who have been trained to deal with this stuff.
The thing is, the National Guard troops are used in lots of different places, doing lots of different things, but they aren't trained to handle this type of situation, as the Fiscal Times notes. Plus, the border sheriffs weren't consulted about any of this, aren't clear about what the objective will be (especially since it's basically going to be a $12 million per month investment so the troops can come down to the border and stand there if they are not ultimately given extra law enforcement type powers,) according to the McAllen Monitor. Having them on the border has the potential to be messy on its own, having them there and actually arresting people has the potential to be a whole other level of mess.
Now, so far, the guy with the most presidential hair in politics has said he does not plan on giving the new guys at the border these powers. Fingers crossed that he sticks with this plan.