Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) caused a bit of a stir this week, announcing plans to dispatch as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S./Mexico border, apparently to address the recent humanitarian crisis. The Republican governor (and likely presidential candidate) has struggled to explain exactly what these troops would do, but Perry seems quite excited about “Operation Strong Safety.”
The governor, however, has not necessarily impressed those whom Perry assumed would be allies.
Leaders along the Texas border with Mexico slammed Gov. Rick Perry’s move Monday to send 1,000 National Guard troops to South Texas, saying overwhelmed counties need law enforcement and charitable aid, not militarization. […]Sheriffs and others along the border said they had not been consulted. They questioned the wisdom of sending military personnel who are not authorized to stop anyone.
The quotes from local law enforcement to the Dallas Morning News were quite striking. Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said, “At this time, a lot of people do things for political reasons. I don’t know that it helps.” Specifically in reference to National Guard troops, Lucio added, “I don’t know what good they can do.”
Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra also told the McAllen Monitor that the Guard troops can’t make arrests and he didn’t know what their objective would be.
“The National Guard – they’re trained in warfare; they’re not trained in law enforcement,” he said. “I need to find out what their actual role is going to be, but I think the money would be better spent giving local law enforcement more funds.”
Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, a Democratic state senator from McAllen, a border community, added that if crime were a reason to call out the National Guard, then based on statistics, the troops would be better sent to Dallas and Houston.
Taken together, Perry hasn’t impressed law enforcement, hasn’t impressed local officials with his plan, and hasn’t even impressed everyone at Fox News. But since the idea is probably focused on impressing caucusgoers in Iowa, it’s possible the Texas governor doesn’t much care about the chilly reception to his plan.