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
Sacred Heart Church Donation Needs as of 6/20/14 in McAllen for Families travelling from Central America
- Baby wipes Hand sanitizer
- Feminine products
- Bottled water
- Gauze pads
- Medical tape
- Peroxide solution
- Cotton balls.
My name is Rosa Escobedo. You may be familiar with the sudden flow of immigrants coming to the US including the Valley from places like Honduras and El Salvador. These people are coming with permission from the US due to their lives being in danger in their country. The border patrol is buying them a ticket to go and meet their family relatives in different parts of the US. These families including babies have been detained in border patrol rooms for days and finally get to travel. They arrive at McAllen bus station and from there volunteers invite them to hydrate, eat and for first time after days to bathe and change clothes before they continue on their trips. Sister Norma from Sacred Heart Church opened the church which is near the bus station and started offering these people something to drink and eat. It is amazing what is happening in this place. Through word of mouth, face book and other media people from all over the valley from different denominations have come together to make donations: food, clothes, hygiene products, diapers, baby products. There have been different reporters covering the story from New York Times to our local valley.
At this time our biggest need is volunteers to serve these families. They are very humble people who are intimidated to ask for anything even if they are starving. Families can come in every hour from 9:00 am to 11:30 pm. We never know when they will arrive but when they do they come in large numbers. The city of McAllen is helping out by directing traffic of people who come to drop off donations. They provided portable showers for people to bathe in and currently a Dr. will be on site in a portable. Some of these babies are coming in dehydrated and the gift to see the before and after is PRICELESS. This is a great opportunity to serve others and to learn about their experiences.
I’m asking if you are willing to help these are some of the duties you will helping out with:
- serving plates of food
- organizing items that come in to be donated: categorize shoes, pants, shirts, baby food and would be in charge of a family as they come in.
- making sure that the families have something to eat, were able to bathe and change clothes, they have extra food to take on their trip.
As I mentioned before if we don’t offer these things to them, they will not ask. There have been situations when people leave without eating because they don’t ask and we are so short in volunteers that it is hard to keep track of everybody.
If you are interested in volunteering all you have to do is show up and ask for Sister Norma who will direct you to where the help is needed.
The address is 306 S. 15th St McAllen. This hall is open from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. all week long including weekends Saturdays and Sundays.
Thank you very much for your attention to this invitation. We look forward to hearing from you all.
If you need further information or clarification please feel free to contact me via e-mail or phone to 956-533-1672 or Sister Norma, 956-455-1484.
Thank you and GOD Bless you,
Rosa Escobedo J
I read the interview of Thursday’s Newsmaker Breakfast Event by Monitor Editor Carlos Sanchez with Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. One answer shows too clearly that Sanchez did almost nothing to get Abbott to reveal his party’s form of governance or how that philosophy matches up against the needs of the region whose support he so badly wants to gain.
He was asked about rising costs of higher education. His answer: We need to bring those costs down. Brilliant!
What about the fact that some years ago, the state of Texas paid 70 to 80 percent of the cost of higher education, yet now only contributes about 30 percent?
Let’s be clear. Abbott’s party is in control of the state government and it is their policies that have directed this shift. And to whom are those costs shifted? They’re directed to students in the form of higher tuition and fees for everything.
How do students pay for the education? With loans, and this is a money-making enterprise, with some agencies wanting to charge 6 percent interest — that’s more than for a car loan!
With so many young people in our region, and so many of them from families with limited incomes, how does Abbott defend this kind of fiscal practice? He talks about spending $5 billion on roads. How much is really needed? What are the needs in this area and will they be met?
I’m sure he will go other places and wave the flag about keeping taxes low, never mentioning that it also likely means reduced investments in state parks, highways and bridges, education at all levels, etc. In all areas, there are hidden taxes and costs, which again are passed onto others.
I don’t think Sanchez did his homework for this intereview. He did a great job of interviewing a celebrity and, no doubt, a wonderful time was had by all his fans, who packed the house.
Robert Ramirez, McAllen
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