Reaction to Gov. Perry sending National Guard to Texas border
Updated On: Jul 22 2014 08:19:46 PM CDT
ABC-7 gathered reaction to Gov. Rick Perry's decision to send National Guard troops to the Texas border, which is expected to cost $12 million dollars a month.
The buildup is being called "Operation Strong Safety." It's unclear at this point whether any of these troops will be headed to the Borderland, but it is clear that elected leaders here in heavily Democratic El Paso don't want any part of the republican governor's plan.
"I think it's a waste of taxpayer resources," El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar said. "One thing that is clear is to is that this is a very political move."
Escobar accused Perry of using the immigrant influx to burnish his law and order credentials for a possible presidential run in 2016.
"He wants to be a candidate that's tough on the border, because that is what is seen as a popular political move by one party," she said. "This will do absolutely nothing but utilize taxpayer resources in an unwise way."
Perry was specific about his move.
"The National Guard troops that I am deploying will support the state led border surge, by acting as a force multiplier," Perry said.
The guard troops will be embedded with state troopers and other law enforcement because they cannot legally detain someone on their own authority.
Members of the El Paso Republican party were supportive of the decision.
"We're very sad it had to come about, because this should never have happened," said Bob Pena, elections administrator for the El Paso Republican party. "I think they are putting them in because so much of the resources at the Border Patrol have been used, have been taken off the front lines."
El Paso County Commissioner Vince Perez said the United States already has a "substantial" amount of resources at the border. He pointed out that the Border Patrol recently became the largest law enforcement agency in the country, surpassing the FBI.
"Building up fences, adding more boots on the ground, isn't necessarily going to stop the flow," said Perez, who is a Democrat. "These types of proposals are brought up during times of crisis to score political points, but the crisis we're facing right now is much bigger than just sealing off the border. It's much more complicated."
Escobar said $12 million a month would be better used for education, transportation or mental health, areas she feels are underfunded in Texas.
Congressman Beto O'rourke released this statement:
"Further militarizing the border 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-percent since 1999."
O'rourke went on to say "the border has never been safer."
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.