Texas Governor Rick Perry, now sporting glasses perhaps to overcome questions concerning low intelligence, announced he will be sending 1000 Texas National Guard soldiers to help secure Texas’ border with Mexico as part of “Operation Strong Safety.”
The move comes after 50,000 children arrived at the border from Central American countries seeking asylum from the terrible situations in their home countries. When announcing the deployment of the National Guard Perry said “I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor. We are too good of a country.” Though it is unclear what, if anything, Perry is planning to do about the “squalor” of the detainment facilities
The troops will have the ability to detain people, but their presence is primarily to act as a deterrent.
The troops could detain people if asked, Texas Adjutant General John Nichols said at the press conference with Perry, but they are planning to play a “referring and deterring” role by deterring cartels with their visible presence and referring any immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally to DPS.
Perry argued that the elevated response at the border by DPS personnel has already has already acted as a deterrent force and reduced apprehensions. That operation comes at a cost of $1.3 million per week. A state memo obtained by the McAllen Monitor, which first reported Perry’s plan to deploy the National Guard, indicated the new efforts will cost the state of Texas $12 million per month.
That is quite a lot of money for a visual effect. Though the presidential connotations of this operation and how they relate to Governor Perry and his political future are lost on no one. The stagecraft screams I’m running for president.
But whatever the political gains are for Perry, the immigration issue appears stuck for now no matter how extreme the PR stunts become. No action is expected from the House of Representatives where an immigration reform bill passed by the Senate that President Obama is willing to sign languishes – detained by squalid partisan politics.