Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced yesterday that he intends to activate the Texas National Guard to patrol the Texas-Mexico border. The move comes as thousands of unaccompanied minors are flooding border crossings. Estimates are that more than 60,000 children have entered the United States from Central American countries.
Gov. Perry is quoted as saying “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 of a country.” The role of the troops will be “referring and deterring” according to Texas Adjutant General John Nichols. The troops will be allowed to detain and refer those crossing illegally to the Texas Department of Safety and also to deter drug cartels activity.
The Obama administration has not received a formal request from Gov. Perry for the use of troops but indicated it was not a decision popular with the president. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stated “What we’re hopeful is that Governor Perry will not just take these kinds of steps that are generating the kind of headlines I suspect he intended, but will actually take the kinds of steps that will be constructive to solving the problem over the long term.” The Obama administration has requested $3.7 billion to help deal with the border crisis. According to Earnest, the number of children detained has dropped from 355 children a day last month to 150 children per day since the border crisis played out in the media.