Congressman Joaquin Castro's response to Governor Perry deploying the National Guard at the border
POSTED: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 8:04am
UPDATED: Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 8:09am
WASHINGTON D.C. — Congressman Joaquin Castro extended an invitation to Governor Rick Perry to meet with the entire Texas Congressional Delegation. The letter (below) is in response to Governor Rick Perry's letter to Representative Castro regarding his decision to deploy the National Guard to the Rio Grande Valley as a result of the influx of children from Central America.
Dear Governor Perry:
I received your letter dated July 23, 2014, related to your decision to deploy National Guard troops to our southern border. As a member of the House Armed Service Committee and the Representative for San Antonio, Military City USA, I am aware of the value of the National Guard. However, in this humanitarian situation, I disagree with your approach, which appears to be rooted in politics more than sound public policy.
First, because the law enforcement capabilities of the National Guard are severely limited by statute and training, Rio Grande Valley leaders agree that the $12 million per month of taxpayer money you plan to spend (with no defined metrics to measure success) would be better invested in supporting local police and sheriff departments in those communities. Furthermore, any attempt to give domestic police power to soldiers is ill-advised. The people of South Texas do not want to and should not have to live in a police state.
Second, for too long the border has been used as a boogey man for political gain. Whether you acknowledge it or not, many of the cities along the Texas-Mexico region are among the safest in our nation. By sensationalizing the level of crime and violence in our border communities you damage the economic potential of places like McAllen, Brownsville, Laredo and El Paso. Moreover, the crime statistics you have used to support the deployment have been thoroughly debunked. For example, El Paso was ranked as the safest city in the nation with more than 500,000 people.
As the leader of our state, I hope you will set a more positive tone to help resolve this issue. I am disappointed that your first instinct was to head down to the Rio Grande to pose by mounted machine guns as if on a trophy hunt. These actions imply hostility toward young children fleeing violence in their home countries and give license to uglier demonstrations of hostility.
I invite you to meet with the entire Texas congressional delegation (which you have not done in several years), at your earliest convenience, to work together to get Congress to pass the supplemental funding necessary to stem the flow of minors making the dangerous trek while treating humanely the tens of thousands of children who have arrived in our great state.
Member of Congress
20th Congressional District of Texas