Future state leaders comment on Perry's National Guard deployment

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Updated: 7/21/2014 7:10 pm
Gov. Rick Perry announced he is deploying as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border after growing tired of "lip service" from the federal government.
He said the National Guard will provide additional support to a state-funded border surge that is costing an additional $1.3 million a week.

Texas politicians are sounding off on their opinion of the governor's announcement.

Leading candidate for governor and current attorney general, Greg Abbott, released this statement supporting the guardsmen move:

“I applaud Governor Perry for providing the decisive leadership needed to address this crisis. Make no mistake: This is more than a border crisis – this is a national crisis affecting communities and taxpayers across the country. This crisis is a public safety priority, and deploying the National Guard to the border is crucial to address the organized criminal activity by cartels and international gangs. Texas will put boots on the ground to secure the border, but we will expect the federal government to foot the bill.”

The Office of the Attorney General will provide legal counsel and continued efforts as long as it takes to fulfill our duty to our citizens to secure the border. Weeks ago, Attorney General Abbott made his first request for additional resources to combat the surge of unauthorized immigration and has been following the escalating situation closely ever since. In June, Attorney General Abbott visited the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Command Post in Weslaco and met with DPS Senior Command officers in the Emergency Operations Center to discuss DPS’s border surge operations. Attorney General Abbott also toured the Lackland Air Force Base facility that is housing hundreds of immigrant minors, as well as a facility in Hidalgo County.

Because of the significant costs and resources borne by the State of Texas in dealing with the border crisis and unauthorized immigration, Attorney General Abbott has asked all relevant state agencies to provide information on any past and anticipated future costs related to unauthorized immigration. This information will assist Attorney General Abbott as he considers any and all potential legal avenues against the federal government to recoup all related costs that have been incurred by the State of Texas and its agencies as a result of the Obama Administration’s failure to secure the border. The Texas Attorney General’s Office is also providing legal advice, counsel and support to the Governor’s Office and the Adjutant General’s Office regarding the National Guard deployment.

Democratic candidate for governor, State Senator Wendy Davis released this statement:

"Last month, I called on Governor Perry to take immediate action to address the growing crisis on the border by convening an emergency legislative session to bolster our overstretched border patrol agents, law enforcement personnel and local communities struggling to deal with the influx of individuals crossing our southern border. Unfortunately, while my call for action went unheeded, the need for action remains, given the continued failure by our leaders in Washington to live up to their responsibility to secure our border. If the federal government won't act, Texas must and will.  However, we should be deploying additional deputy sheriffs to the border like local law enforcement is calling for rather than Texas National Guard units who aren't even authorized to make arrests. Therefore, I reiterate my call for Governor Perry to immediately convene for an emergency legislative session to provide the resources to get additional law enforcement personnel on the ground immediately."

State Senator Dan Patrick, the front-runner for Lt. Governor, agrees with the governor's action on the border:

“We’ve all seen, read, and heard the news accounts.  Our border, already in crisis, now faces another: the flood of children illegally crossing our southern border in unprecedented numbers.  Federal resources have been overwhelmed.  We find ourselves again in a situation where Texas is forced to fill the gap.  In the past few weeks, Texas has committed additional Department of Public Safety resources to deal with this crisis.

On Friday, I toured state and federal operations along the Texas-Mexico border. Colonel Steve McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, and Steve Mach, Public Safety Commissioner, arranged the tour. I came away with several observations, which I detailed last night on social media. Our southern border is not secure. The federal government has failed to perform this basic function. This is a matter of public safety. Among the thousands of immigrants crossing our border illegally looking for work and economic opportunity are criminal elements who are committing serious crimes against our citizens. There are also terrorists slipping across the border undetected. Now we have an added element of unaccompanied alien children crossing.

More manpower and more resources are needed.  It’s time to mobilize the National Guard. This should be done by President Obama, but if he refuses, and Governor Perry decides to act, I fully support that decision. If the federal government will not take this important step, and Governor Perry is forced to act, the burden will fall upon Texas taxpayers and the 84th Session of the Legislature to appropriate the necessary funds.  I believe the public and the members of the Legislature agree with me.”

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