Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to announce he will activate the Texas National Guard at a news conference Monday in Austin, said state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen.
Hinojosa did not have details of the effort, but an internal memo from another state official’s office said the governor planned to call about 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Rio Grande Valley — at a cost of about $12 million per month.
The memo was provided to The Monitor on the condition of anonymity because the information is not yet public.
Troops are expected to enter the area gradually, building up to 1,000 after about a month, the memo said.
The troops will join the Texas Department of Public Safety in its recent surge to combat human smuggling and drug trafficking amid the influx of mostly Central Americans illegally crossing the Rio Grande. Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced the $1.3 million per week effort last month.
State leaders approved funding for extra DPS troopers to fill in gaps in Border Patrol coverage in the Valley as the federal authorities were overwhelmed with an influx of children and families from Central America. The state officials feared Mexican drug cartels might exploit the situation to move their own drugs and human contraband while Border Patrol attention was turned elsewhere.
Hinojosa said Perry’s move smacked of political gamesmanship.
“All these politicians coming down to border, they don’t care about solving the problem, they just want to make a political point,” he said.
State officials denied the move amounted to a militarization of the border.
“This is not a militarization of the border,” the memo states. “The DPS and the National Guard are working to keep any drug and human trafficking south of (U.S. Highway) 83 and with the goal of keeping any smuggling from entering major highways to transport East/West/and North.”
DPS officials want to send National Guard troops into western areas of the Valley and the ranch lands further north, according to the memo.
“Smuggling has supposedly according to DPS moved West on the border with an increase in Jim Hogg County,” the memo states. “DPS especially wants to apply the Guard in the rural areas to patrol.”
The National Guard deployment — added to the DPS surge — will bring the price tag of troopers on the border to about $5 million per week, the memo said. And the funding source for the effort remains unclear.
“It is not clear where the money will come from in the budget,” the memo states, adding that Perry’s office has said the money will come from “non critical” areas, such as health care or transportation.
Hinojosa said the National Guard was not equipped to aid immigrants crossing the Rio Grande.
“They (cartels) are taking advantage of the situation,” he said. “But our local law enforcement from the sheriff’s offices of the different counties to the different police departments are taking care of the situation. This is a civil matter, not a military matter. What we need is more resources to hire more deputies, hire more Border Patrol.
“These are young people, just families coming across. They’re not armed. They’re not carrying weapons.” Source
Carlos Guzman at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Vigil dedicated to honor those who lost their lives coming to the United States in search of protection @ the U.S. Homeland Security and Border Patrol Center in McAllen, Texas.
Kiss at Flea. Market.AC
The Human Rights Coalition of South Texas organized a vigil to commemorate refugees and immigrants who have lost their lives on their journey to the United States. The event took place across the street of the U.S. Homeland Security and Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas on the morning of Saturday, July 19, 2014.
Organizations from around the state gathered for an interfaith ceremony to welcome the refugees and children fleeing violence in their home countries into the U.S. An estimated 500 people participated in support of this event.
La Coalición de Derechos Humanos del Sur de Tejas organizo una vigilia para conmemorar a los refugiados e inmigrantes que han muerto durante su jornada a los Estados Unidos. El evento fue ubicado al frente de el Centro del U.S. Homeland Security y Border Patrol en McAllen, Texas en la mañana del sábado, julio 19, 2014.
Organizaciones de todo el estado se reunieron para una ceremonia interreligiosa para dar bienvenida a los refugiados y niños huyendo de países violentos y hacia los Estados Unidos. Aproximadamente 500 personas participaron a favor de este evento.
The sky kisses earth
@ Galax Z Fair III 3-10-2014
Queen Isabella Causeway
The jetties at South Padre Island, Texas