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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid