Texas Gov. Rick Perry reportedly plans to deploy 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Rio Grande Valley to increase security at the border, according to a news report published by The Monitor.
According to The Monitor, a south Texas newspaper, state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa and an internal memo obtained from the state official’s office suggested that Perry will announce his plan on Monday.
Perry spokesperson Felix Browne neither confirmed nor denied the report, but said that all details would be given at 2 p.m. Central time on Monday from Austin.
Troops are expected to enter the area gradually and build to 1,000 after one month. They will allegedly join the Texas Department of Public Safety in its surge to combat human smuggling and drug trafficking, which Perry and his colleagues announced last month would cost $1.3 million per week.
According to an internal memo from another state official’s office, sending troops into the Rio Grande Valley will cost about $12 million per month. The funding source for these efforts remains unclear, which is explicitly stated in the memo. It’s been suggested that funding might come from so-called “non-critical areas” like health and transportation.
In response to Perry’s alleged decision, Hinojosa said the move reeked of political gamesmanship.
“All these politicians coming down to the border, they don’t care about solving the problem, they just want to make a political point,” Hinojosa said.
State officials have since denied that the move is a militarization of the border.
“This is not a militarization of the border,” the memo reads. “The DPS and the National Guard are working to keep any drug and human trafficking south of [U.S. Highway] 83 and with the goal of keeping any smuggling from entering major highways to transport East/West/and North.”
Hinojosa argued that the National Guard is not equipped to aid immigrants crossing the Rio Grande, and that instead of dispatching troops the state should be hiring more deputies and Border Patrol.
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