AUSTIN, Texas (TheBlaze/AP) — Gov. Rick Perry says he’s deploying as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border after growing tired of “lip service” from the federal government.
Perry said Monday that the National Guard will provide additional support to a state-funded border surge that is costing an additional $1.3 million a week.
Much of the area has been overwhelmed in recent months by tens of thousands of unaccompanied children illegally entering the U.S.
“The plight of these unaccompanied alien children has rightfully captured the national attention,” Perry said during a news conference. “Equally as concerning, however, is the fact that unaccompanied children only make up 20 percent of those apprehended crossing the border illegally.”
Perry also said drug cartels are exploiting the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border for human and drug trafficking.
“Over the years, I have repeatedly called on the federal government to live up to its responsibility of protecting this great nation by securing the border,” he added. “Since 2008, more than 203,000 criminal aliens have been booked into Texas county jails. … These individuals have committed more than 630,000 crimes — and that is in the state of Texas alone.”
“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 a country for that to occur,” he added.
Under “Operation Strong Safety,” Perry has authorized the immediate deployment of up to 1,000 National Guard troops to help secure the border in Texas.
More than 3,000 Border Patrol agents currently work in the region. The deployment of the National Guard is expected to unfold over the next 30 days.
Democrats and some Texas border sheriffs are criticizing the plan as an ill-conceived militarization.
Watch Perry discuss his plan to deploy the National Guard and how Texas should deal with unaccompanied immigrant children on CNN: