Perry Sends 1,000 Troops to Border, But Not Because of Flood of Children, Apparently
Rick Perry and many of his GOP brethren support the idea of beefed up security along the Texas-Mexico border. Because the Obama administration has failed to act, Perry says, he must do it himself. On Monday, he ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to deploy along the border in something he is calling "Operation Strong Safety," a slogan his predecessor in the governor's mansion no doubt would have loved. What exactly is strong safety anyway?
Photo by Gage Skidmore
While those who have been clamoring for a greater response to cross-border incursions by criminals, cartels and plain old immigrants are applauding Perry's response -- nevermind his sticking it to Obama approach -- most experts wonder if it will do much good given the vast size of the Texas border, and whether or not resources like the National Guard should be used to further what many believe is simply a political agenda.
But, the more interesting question is one of timing.
The reality is that immigrants and drug runners have been crossing the border in large numbers for years and years. There are even some studies that suggest the Canadian border is a much more substantial threat to national security, a common rallying cry by those who want to build a border fence and deploy security forces along the Mexican border.
In recent months, however, a flood of as many as 50,000 children have swelled along the border, most from Central America fleeing violence and oppression in their home countries. The call to deport them has come swiftly from the right despite the uncomfortable look of a bunch of starving kids being tossed into a plane and whisked back to a country where they may be killed or recruited into drug smuggling.
In Perry's announcement, he was careful to say this deployment was not about the children. "I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor. We are too good of a country," he said, adding that this move was to "combat the brutal Mexican drug cartels that are preying upon our communities."
Many of his cohorts have said similar things. Sen. Dan Patrick, the favorite to win the Lieutenant Governor spot this fall, spoke at a rally in Mission yesterday. "My No. 1 job is to protect your life, your family and your property," he said. "We as Republicans are not anti-immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants. We are not anti-Hispanic. We are not anti-anyone. We are just for law and order and not until we secure the border will Washington act."
Commissioner Todd Staples of the Texas Department of Agriculture chimed in as well. "This crisis is not just about unaccompanied children. We will absolutely ensure children are helped and not abused," he said in a press release, "However, any action in providing aid should not send a confusing message for others to follow their dangerous path."