Border Sheriffs Perplexed by Rick Perry's Plan to Send 1,000 Troops to Stare at Mexico

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Texas Gov. Rick Perry Eric Gay/AP

Why would you spend millions of dollars sending troops to the border who can't actually detain anyone? That's what some Texas sheriffs of border towns are asking in the wake of Gov. Rick Perry's plan to send 1,000 National Guards members to the Texas/Mexico border in the next month, according to the Dallas Morning News. For them, it would be more useful to spend the money on hiring more deputies and police, aka people who are allowed to detain migrants. 

“I don’t know what good they can do,” Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio told theDallas Morning News. “You just can’t come out here and be a police officer.” Lucio and other sheriffs said they weren't consulted before Perry's announcement and, in Lucio's opinion, the police and Border Patrol agents were handling the small uptick in crime. "At this time, a lot of people do things for political reasons. I don’t know that it helps,” Lucio said.

This isn't the first time people have questioned the wisdom of sending National Guard troops to the border. In 2010, President Obama sent over 1,000 troops to the border. They weren't allowed to pursue or detain immigrants, "or investigate crimes, make arrests, stop and search vehicles, or seize drugs," The Washington Post reported in 2011. "Nor do they check Mexico-bound vehicles for bulk cash or smuggled weapons headed to the drug cartels." Basically, they keep watch and radio in any suspicious activity. Critics also argued that the National Guard's help cost an estimated $6,271 per person caught. 

But defenders of sending the guard argue they are a deterrent. In the upcoming deployment, guard officials said they would have some medical training and be supplied with water. Still, the most immediate reward is political, and as The New York Times noted, Perry stands the most to gain for being tough on the border.

In 2012, one of his major gaffes was calling people "heartless" for panning his plan to give undocumented students in-state tuition. This time around he won't make the same mistake. “Drug cartels, human traffickers and individual criminals are exploiting this tragedy for their own criminal opportunities,” Perry said Monday. “I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault, and little children from Central America are detained in squalor.”

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.