News / USA

Texas Gov. Perry Orders State National Guard to Border

Gov. Rick Perry listens to a reporter's question during a news conference in the governor's press room in Austin, Texas, July 21, 2014.
Gov. Rick Perry listens to a reporter's question during a news conference in the governor's press room in Austin, Texas, July 21, 2014.
Greg Flakus

Texas Governor Rick Perry ordered his state’s National Guard commander to send 1,000 soldiers to the Texas border with Mexico to help cope with the recent influx of people from Central America seeking refugee status.

Perry said he took the extraordinary measure of activating some of the state's National Guard troops to help secure the border, where tens of thousands of immigrants from Central America, including some 50,000 children, have entered the United States  in recent months.

"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 a country for that to occur,” he said. “That is why today I am using my authority as governor of Texas in activating the National Guard."

Perry was referring to initial reports of Border Patrol detention facilities becoming overcrowded, as agents struggled to keep up with the surge of people coming over the border and turning themselves in, seeking asylum.

Detention center

The federal government has now established a large detention center in Arizona to accommodate some of the overflow and is processing many other immigrants and sending them to stay with family members around the country while they await their court hearing.

Perry said Border Patrol agents have been diverted from protecting the border to processing the influx of Central Americans, thereby giving lawbreakers more leeway.

"Drug cartels, human traffickers, individual criminals are exploiting this tragedy for their own criminal opportunities,” Perry said.

Perry noted that only about 20 percent of the people detained after crossing the border illegally are children.

He said the Texas National Guard troops would be "force multipliers" to assist U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as U.S. Custom and Border Protection agents in catching human traffickers and drug smugglers.

But there are many people who criticize Perry's action as unnecessary.

Cameron County, Texas Sheriff Omar Lucio (loo-SEE-oh), whose jurisdiction includes the border city of Brownsville, said Perry's announcement was done for political reasons.

Perry is expected to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

Wendy Davis, the Texas Democratic candidate for governor, called on Perry to send additional Sheriff's deputies from various other parts of the state to help local sheriffs at the border, rather than the National Guard.

Skeptic

Another skeptic is longtime U.S. Immigration Special Agent Hipolito Acosta, who is now retired. In a VOA interview done before Perry's announcement, Acosta commented on the governor's initial suggestion that he might deploy the National Guard.

"The National Guard cannot arrest illegal aliens, the National Guard cannot process illegal aliens, the National Guard cannot actually detain people smuggling drugs inside the United States, so, again, it is a lot of grandstanding," Acosta said.

But the deployment of the National Guard in Texas is popular among many conservatives in the state and on the national scene as well.

Some members of Congress say passage of President Barack Obama's request for $3.7 billion in emergency funds should hinge on this issue.

The National Guard provides the U.S. Defense system with reserve troops around the country that can be called to active duty as necessary.

Guard members in each state have civilian jobs and train on weekends. They also engage in special training exercises and deployments throughout the year.

Either the president or the governor of a state can call out the National Guard in emergencies, but when the governor of a state does so, the state pays the cost.

In this case, Texas will spend $12 million a month on the border operation, a bill state officials say they hope to pass on to the federal government since it has primary responsibility for immigration and border security.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More