On Monday, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) criticized Texas Governor Rick Perry’s announcement that he will send 1,000 National Guard troops to Texas’ border with Mexico. Perry is calling this move Operation Strong Safety and said it is necessary to help further secure the border. The governor has also called on President Obama to hire 3,000 more border patrol agents to patrol along the Rio Grande River. This is all in the wake of the ongoing humanitarian crisis involving migrant children from Central America, who are making their way to the U.S. border.
Politico reported that Castro sent out an email after he was informed of Perry’s decision to send troops to the border. In the email, the Congressman had the following to say:
“We should be sending the Red Cross to the border not the National Guard to deal with this humanitarian crisis. The children fleeing violence in Central America are seeking out border patrol agents. They are not trying to evade them. Why send soldiers to confront these kids? Militarizing our border is the wrong response to the arrival of children.I remain hopeful that our state can provide a more helpful response than to send armed soldiers to greet children seeking refuge from violence.”
Castro was actually made aware of Perry’s plans on Sunday and posted the following to his Facebook page Sunday night.
Over the past weeks, Perry has strongly hinted that he was going to send troops to the border. When he met with President Obama earlier this month, he requested that the federal government deploy National Guard troops to the border. He reiterated that statement in interviews after the meeting. The reason Perry wanted the White House to deploy the troops was he didn’t want Texas to be responsible for the cost. Keeping a thousand armed troops at the border will cost Texas roughly $5 million a week.
Besides the cost, there really isn’t a reason to send the National Guard to the border. The children who are fleeing Central America are willingly going to agents and turning themselves in once they reach the border. Border security isn’t an issue so much as there is a logjam in the system when it comes to dealing with the high number of individuals who need to be processed after being detained. Also, there is a basic need for supplies and housing to deal with the increased amount of detained refugees.
Instead, Perry is merely interested in creating a certain visual to appeal to right-wing voters as he prepares himself for another sure-to-be ill-fated run for the White House. He gets to send National Guardsmen to the border in order to stop the invasion that is coming through. He gets to tout himself as a man of action and even gives this operation a cool-sounding name. However, this won’t do anything to actually address the crisis. The National Guard can’t enforce immigration law and can’t even stop immigrants from crossing the border. They are merely there for window dressing, all in an effort to make Perry look ‘strong.’
Perry, like other Republicans, isn’t interested in finding any real solutions. Instead, he just wants to use this humanitarian crisis as a way to rile up the ‘Old Angry White Guy’ base ahead of 2016.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).