Texas Lawmakers react to Governor's proposal to send Guard Troops to border

Monday, July 21, 2014 - 4:44pm

Governor Rick Perry proposed sending in 1,000 National Guard troops to help secure the Texas - New Mexico Border on Monday. After the reaction, statewide lawmakers began to issue statements and reactions on the proposal.

We have attached a list of statements below:

Senator Jose Rodriguez (D) - El Paso

This is an abuse of power by the Governor for political gain in his ambitious quest for the presidency. The Governor is spreading misinformation regarding the safety of the border in order to justify the deployment of troops and the expenditure of scarce public resources. Further militarization of the border will harm border communities long into the future by portraying the border as insecure.

Attempting to militarize the border with a surge of National Guard troops and DPS officers of this magnitude is an absurd reaction to a refugee crisis. The proposal by Governor Perry reeks of politics over policy with the undeniable consequence of further straining limited resources that are absolutely critical for transportation, infrastructure, and health care needs, especially in rural areas along the border.

Let us not forget less than 20 years ago, in 1997, National Guard troops were sent to the border and that action resulted in the tragic death of 18 year-old Ezekiel Hernandez, Jr. National Guard troops have no knowledge or training about the people who live in this region and will serve no real purpose in a border area where migrant children are willingly turning themselves into Border Patrol.

Militarizing the border isn't going to solve the problems highlighted by the Governor. Neither will blindly spending millions of dollars without discernible accountability or metrics for success.

This proposal sends the wrong message and perpetuates the myth that the Texas border region is a war zone, dangerous to visit, bad for business, and unhospitable to live. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our border communities have shown tremendous courage, generosity, and American spirit in addressing the unaccompanied minors fleeing the violence of Central America and seeking refuge in our country.

The border region needs Texas leaders to support the needs of the border by coordinating with local law enforcement, public officials, public health leaders, and faith-based organizations to make sure they have the resources in place to deal with unique challenges placed on communities with this influx of children.

Tx Attorney General Greg Abbott (R)

“I applaud Governor Perry for providing the decisive leadership needed to address this crisis. Make no mistake: This is more than a border crisis – this is a national crisis affecting communities and taxpayers across the country. This crisis is a public safety priority, and deploying the National Guard to the border is crucial to address the organized criminal activity by cartels and international gangs. Texas will put boots on the ground to secure the border, but we will expect the federal government to foot the bill.”

The Office of the Attorney General will provide legal counsel and continued efforts as long as it takes to fulfill our duty to our citizens to secure the border. Weeks ago, Attorney General Abbott made his first request for additional resources to combat the surge of unauthorized immigration and has been following the escalating situation closely ever since. In June, Attorney General Abbott visited the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Command Post in Weslaco and met with DPS Senior Command officers in the Emergency Operations Center to discuss DPS’s border surge operations. Attorney General Abbott also toured the Lackland Air Force Base facility that is housing hundreds of immigrant minors, as well as a facility in Hidalgo County.

Because of the significant costs and resources borne by the State of Texas in dealing with the border crisis and unauthorized immigration, Attorney General Abbott has asked all relevant state agencies to provide information on any past and anticipated future costs related to unauthorized immigration. This information will assist Attorney General Abbott as he considers any and all potential legal avenues against the federal government to recoup all related costs that have been incurred by the State of Texas and its agencies as a result of the Obama Administration’s failure to secure the border. The Texas Attorney General’s Office is also providing legal advice, counsel and support to the Governor’s Office and the Adjutant General’s Office regarding the National Guard deployment.

Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D) - San Antonio

“Our Texas National Guard’s reputation is impeccable. The men and women of the Texas National Guard are trained to do many missions. But to strictly militarize the border won’t help us meet this unique humanitarian challenge. The people of the Rio Grande Valley have made that clear.

“As a sixth-generation Texan whose family has lived along the border, with extensive relationships with border law enforcement, faith and community leaders in the Rio Grande Valley for decades, I believe Governor Perry’s decision is the wrong way to go.

“Instead of ignoring local leaders and acting unilaterally, Washington D.C. and Austin should act responsibly. To keep Texans safe, we should support our local and state law enforcement and first responders with the resources that they request and need.”

U.S. Congressman Beto O'Rourke (D) - El Paso

"Further militarizing the border by sending National Guard troops will not solve the current crisis. We are beginning to see a drop in the number of children presenting themselves to the Border Patrol along the U.S.-Mexico border. Southwest border apprehensions are down more than 200% since 1999. The border has never been safer."



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