Texas Gov. Rick Perry has fired back at a Democratic congressman who said that Perry was "militarizing" the border by sending 1,000 National Guards troops to south Texas.
The Republican governor sent a scathing letter to Rep. Joaquin Castro, saying that he had misunderstood the role that the troops would play on the border in preventing crimes being committed by illegal immigrants, the Houston Chronicle reported.
"I recently read your remarks in the press regarding my decision to send up to 1,000 members of the Texas National Guard to enhance border security efforts currently underway along the Texas-Mexico border," Perry wrote. "Your comments indicated a basic misunderstanding about the very positive role the Guard will play in tackling the border security crisis."
The governor announced Monday that he was deploying the troops to the border over the next month to fight crime because Texas public safety officials are overwhelmed by a surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America.
Perry’s angry response to Castro came after the San Antonio Democrat had sent an email to Politico
criticizing the governor’s action.
"We should be sending the Red Cross to the border not the National Guard to deal with this humanitarian crisis," Castro wrote. "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," Castro said. "I remain hopeful that our state can provide a more helpful response than to send armed soldiers to greet children seeking refuge from violence."
Perry, a potential GOP presidential contender in 2016, also blasted Castro for implying that the Texas National Guard is "some sort of hostile force."
"Nothing could be further from the truth," the governor wrote. "The Guard is made up of our friends, our brothers, our sisters, our mothers, and our fathers. They are our neighbors from around the state, and they care deeply about the safety of our communities."
Perry’s action came under fire on Thursday in an Arizona Republic
column by EJ Montini, who says that Perry is "senselessly sending guard troops to the border."
Montini wrote, "It makes no sense. The Perry plan might have a grain of practicality if the people crossing the border actually wanted to evade capture. But it's just the opposite.
"The overwhelming majority of kids involved in the massive wave of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America crossing into the United States are not trying to elude the border patrol. Instead, they want to be caught...So what will the National Guard do beside cost Texas taxpayers’ money? It will help Perry, who wants to be a player in the next presidential election."
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