Texas Gov. Rick Perry rejects accusations that he’s beefed up border security for political reasons
Gov. Rick Perry told National and State Guard troops headed to the border region that they would play a key role in protecting the U.S. against narco-terrorists who are “spreading their tentacles” into Texas and deep into the American heartland.
“You now are the tip of the spear, protecting Americans from these cartels and gangs,” Perry told a uniformed group of about 90 troops gathered Wednesday in a warehouse at Camp Swift, about 300 miles north of the border.
The number of children apprehended at the Southwest border illegally entering the United States and traveling alone reached nearly 63,000 in the last nine months, according to new Department of Homeland Security statistics released Thursday.
The number of children apprehended at the Southwest border illegally entering the United States and traveling alone reached nearly 63,000 in the last nine months, according to new Department of Homeland Security statistics released Thursday. ( Cindy Carcamo )
Perry, flanked by the leaders of the Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety, noted that when he asked for 1,000 volunteers, he got 2,200. Troops are drawn from the Texas Army National Guard, which has 19,123 members; Texas Air National Guard, which has 3,107 members; and the State Guard, with 2,232 members.
The troops will aid the Department of Public Safety, which Perry and other Republican state leaders had ordered to beef up staffing and equipment in a state-funded border deployment.
The Department of Public Safety operation came after a jump in border crossings in recent months: 63,000 unaccompanied children since October, plus families. Most are from Central America. However, the flow has slowed in recent weeks.
Perry said the operation had reduced apprehensions of migrants on the border by more than half in the last five weeks. Immigrant advocates and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have said there are several causes for the decline in traffic, including changes in smuggling routes, crackdowns by Mexican and Central American authorities, and seasonal migration patterns.
Although the increased number of families and unaccompanied children has overwhelmed authorities, illegal immigration overall has been down. Apprehensions on the Southwest border have dropped steadily during the last decade by more than half, from 905,065 to 414,397 last fiscal year.