AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Monday he planned to send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Mexican border to boost security during a surge in illegal immigration by children, a move that could increase pressure on President Barack Obama.
Perry, seen as a possible Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential race, said the guard troops were needed because the flood of children crossing from Mexico had pushed federal border protection to its limits.
“The price of inaction is too high for Texas to pay,” Perry told a news conference.
The governor’s announcement came just days before Obama plans meet with the leaders of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador on Friday to discuss cooperation on the influx of child migrants from Central America.
Perry said the National Guard would help the state’s surveillance and deploy some of its assets, such as aircraft, to monitor the border. He give no indication the Texas National Guard would work directly with U.S. Border Patrol.
During the nine months ending June 30, more than 57,000 children were detained at the U.S.-Mexico border, most of them from Central America, and double last year’s count, according to U.S. government data.
Perry said federal resources had been diverted to take care of those children, creating a vacuum for criminal cartels to step up operations.