As Western Journalism reported last week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry vowed to act with or without federal assistance to tackle the ongoing border crisis disproportionately affecting his state. According to a Houston Chronicle report, the Republican governor is prepared to call on as many as 1,000 Texas National Guard members to report to the Rio Grande Valley to achieve that goal.
Democrat state Sen. Juan Hinojosa alluded to the plan Sunday via a statement by his spokesperson, Jennifer Saenz.
“The senator understands that Perry wants this troop buildup,” she confirmed; “but is not sure what kind of federal approval he needs for it.”
As for Hinojosa, he feels the move is unwarranted.
“My position,” he affirmed, “is that we do not need to militarize the border.”
According to the Chronicle report, an internal memo from an undisclosed state official indicates that the dispatch does not amount to militarization.
“The [Department of Public Safety] 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,” the memo indicates.
The cost to station the troops plus all vehicle expenses would amount to as much as $12 million a month, reports show, and it would take at least a month to organize the concentrated effort.
While the memo does not reveal precisely where the funding would come from, it suggests Perry has alluded to taking money set aside for ‘non-critical’ uses.
Republicans in the state have rushed to applaud Perry’s decisive action in this matter.
— Jeff Leach (@leachfortexas) July 21, 2014
The move comes after conservative leaders called on him to take the lead in response to federal inaction.
Of course, Hinojosa is not the only detractor Perry is facing among Texas Democrats. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, for example, suggested the presence of troops on the border would add undue stress to unaccompanied children illegally crossing the border.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)