Several weeks after announcing a plan to deploy Texas National Guard troops along his state’s border with Mexico, Texas Gov. Rick Perry received a critical letter from the neighboring country that just happened to coincide with the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Released last Wednesday, Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs used the press release to expound on a previous statement deriding Perry’s plan to deal with the illegal immigration crisis.
“The measure taken unilaterally by the Texas government is clearly erroneous and does not contribute to the efforts being made by our countries to create a secure border an a solution to the issue of immigration,” the statement read.
One week later, Perry published a letter he sent to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in response.
“As neighbors and economic partners,” he wrote, “Mexico and the United States are inextricably bound by shared interests and culture. As friends we might not always agree, but we must have an honest and respectful dialogue about the challenges we share, which is why I write to you today.”
Perry praised the steps Mexico has taken in recent years to facilitate a stronger economic and cultural bond between the two nations before responding directly to the criticism lodged against him.
“I believe strongly that our continued prosperity depends on a partnership that works collaboratively to address our shared border security challenges, rather than marginalizing the legitimate views of one side,” he wrote. “Our partnership cannot advance if we fail to acknowledge the serious issues associated with lax border enforcement along both of our southern borders.”
He cited the physical danger illegal immigrants face in crossing into the U.S. as well as the criminals who seek to exploit lax border security in causing harm to American citizens. Perry assured Nieto that he is dedicated to addressing the issue head-on, adding that he “will not be dissuaded by rhetoric of any kind.”
In much the same way he invited Barack Obama to discuss the crisis with him, Perry invited Nieto to Texas in the hopes that “the United States and Mexico can work as partners to find solutions to these challenges, now and in the future.”
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Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst also responded to Mexico’s statement, calling it “puzzling and frankly offensive that the government of Mexico chose the 13th anniversary of the most tragic attack on our homeland to call on Texas to throw open our international border to illegal immigration, trafficking in drugs and human lives, and potentially even terrorists who wish to harm America.”
Photo credit: Mays Business School at Texas A&M University (Flickr)