Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Monday ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to immediately begin preparations for deployment to help deal with a security crisis as tens of thousands of immigrants from Central America continue to pour across the U.S.-Mexican border.
Since October, near 100,000 undocumented migrants, many of them unaccompanied children, have traveled through Mexico to the United States from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Last month, President Obama created a federal task force, led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to help deal with the humanitarian emergency created by the influx.
Obama aides were warned of the developing crisis nearly a year ago, the Washington Post reported Sunday.
“There can be no national security without border security, and Texans have paid too high a price for the federal government’s failure to secure our border,” Perry said at a news conference in Austin. “The action I am ordering today will tackle this crisis head-on by multiplying our efforts to combat the cartel activity, human traffickers and individual criminals who threaten the safety of people across Texas and America.”
Perry met in early July with Obama to discuss the situation and request federal activation of the National Guard, but the president declined the request. Under Perry’s order, the state will bear the costs of the deployment.
Earlier this month, Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, told Defense One that the surge of drugs, weapons and people across the border represented an “existential” threat to U.S. security. Kelly has asked Congress for additional resources to deal with the crisis.