Gov. Perry Says Texas Can't Wait for Feds, Orders Border 'Surge'

Image: Gov. Perry Says Texas Can't Wait for Feds, Orders Border 'Surge'

Thursday, 19 Jun 2014 12:57 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry has ordered a state law-enforcement surge on his state's border with Mexico, saying that he can't wait keep waiting for the federal government to live up to its responsibilities.

"The responsibility for securing the border rests exclusively on the federal government," the Republican governor wrote in a letter Wednesday night to Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. The letter was also signed by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.

Vote Now: Should Rick Perry Run in 2016?

"Until the federal government fulfills its duty, it falls on the state of Texas to address those obligations," Perry continued.

Perry, saying the the unsecured border is a "humanitarian issue," complained that "the federal government's failure to secure the border has created an incentive for families to send their children on a dangerous, and sometimes fatal, journey."

Perry wrote: "With this letter, you are directed to plan and execute a surge operation of increased law enforcement in Texas border counties. You are authorized to utilize all existing appropriated funds toward this operation."

The surge would cost up to $1.3 million per week, reports The Hill, and Perry said in the letter that he, Dewhurst, and Straus will use their authority to make any necessary adjustments to the Department of Public Safety budget until the state Legislature's next session.

In addition to the some 34,000 unaccompanied illegal immigrant children that have been caught so far this year after crossing the border — more than double the number over all 12 months of 2013 — the unsecured border is also a danger to Texas residents because of the potential for serious crimes, said the governor.

"According to recent Texas threat assessments, the majority of Mexican cartels maintain control of networks in Texas to support drug and human smuggling operations," Perry stated in the letter. "The various crimes directly related to cartels — murder, sexual assault, extortion, child prostitution, home invasion — put Texas citizens' lives at risk and strain the resources of state and local law enforcement and criminal justice systems.

The influx of children is taking up resources meant for Texas citizens, Perry said on CNN's "Crossfire" Wednesday.

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"We have to send a clear message to secure the border first," said Perry. "If we have a major disaster, think Katrina, think Rita. With these children and these individuals that are being housed in federal facilities and in state facilities that are being used for this, we do not have the capacity to be able to take care of our citizens."

Children are crossing the border because they perceive that the Obama administration's deferred action program means they will be accepted in America and not turned away, Perry said.

"These young people being brought in the United States ... are hearing the message of 'Come on up here, the border is open. You can come to America,'" he said.

Not all the immigrants are from Mexico; more than half those taken into custody in Texas are fleeing violence in Latin American countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, reports The Hill.

Texas has held similar border surges in the past, Perry told Fox News' Sean Hannity Tuesday.

"We've had some success there and shutting down illegal activities with surges," Perry said. "But we don't have the resources. I mean, No. 1, it's not the state's responsibility to be dealing with this issue. We're doing our part to make sure we can keep our citizens as safe as we can. But the federal government is just absolutely failing."

Further, Perry said he hates to be "conspiratorial," but asked, "how do you move that many people from Central America across Mexico and into the United States without there being a fairly coordinated effort?"

Vote Now: Should Rick Perry Run in 2016?

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