State official questions Perry's deployment of troops to RGV
POSTED: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 3:46pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 7:37am
HIDALGO COUNTY, TX (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — About 1,000 Texas National Guard Troops are making their way to the Rio Grande Valley.
It's all part of a move by Governor Rick Perry to lend support to Border Patrol agents on the Rio Grande. It's a continued reaction to the record number of undocumented immigrants crossing the border this year.
"Is this the right message we want to send, not only to the rest of the state, but the rest of the country, and in fact, the rest of the world in what we're doing here on the border?" State Representative Sergio Muñoz questioned. "And it was very unfortunate that I don't think there was any input from the local officials or local police chiefs, the sheriffs, all of the people that are dealing with that on a daily basis."
There are concerns about whether national guard troops can be effective policing a civilian area. They are not able to make immigration arrests. Best they can do is radio Border Patrol agents who are trained to take in immigrants.
"It is unnecessary, it was not asked for, it's going to make things worse, or certainly won't make them better," University of Texas-Pan American political science associate professor Dr. Gary Mounce said of Perry's plan.
He joins others in saying Perry made the move with an eye on a presidential run in two years.
"I see it as a political ploy, I see it as him thinking of 2016," Mounce said. "It's not about solving the current problem."
The plan is estimated to cost $12 million a month. But beyond the cost, there are concerns about long-term damages to the Valley's image.
"It's also going to affect it on the business aspect as well," Muñoz added. "People are going to be seeing the headlines, thinking we're living in a militarized zone, even though we've heard that their role is going to be limited to support."
More than 3,000 Border Patrol agents patrol our area of the Mexican border. According to the Dallas Morning News, DPS has bumped up spending on the border nearly $800 million in the past several years.