Monday, July 21, 2014

Rick Perry's border surge

"I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor," Perry said at a briefing in Austin. "The price of inaction is too high for Texans to pay."

Perry's move came just hours after the White House announced that the number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border is dropping – from 355 per day in June to 150 in early July, according to spokesman Josh Earnest.

Earnest said the reasons for the drop remain unclear, but suggested the administration's efforts "to work with Central American leaders to publicize the dangers of the journey" have contributed significantly.

Perry on Monday acknowledged the drop in the new arrivals in recent weeks, but he offered a different theory for the trend, saying it was a "clear indication" that local, state and federal law enforcement efforts are working.

I'm already dizzy from the spin. The governor finally took this action after the president refused his request to do so.  The difference between the two?  When Obama does it uses federal dollars; when Perry does it, it's Texas money that pays for it.  And it's going to cost us $5 million a week.  And then there are the legality questions.

Perry’s move could also run into constitutional problems. The Constitution’s Supremacy Clause prohibits states from interfering with areas of regulation that have been preempted by the federal government, and the U.S. Supreme Court has already invalidated provisions of state law that seek to legislate on immigration reform. Washington and Lee University law professor Margaret Hu told ThinkProgress this provision could suffer similar constitutional problems, particularly because it interferes with national security and Department of Homeland Security policies also.

Perry’s announcement comes several days after several House of Representatives members introduced a resolution calling on Perry and several other governors in border states to send National Guard troops to the border. The resolution “recognizes, supports, and defends the Constitutional authority” of these governors to send troops to the border, and “urges” them to immediately deploy troops. But this, too, raises constitutional flags.

The resolution also commits to covering the cost of the troops — estimated to be $5 million per week just in Texas. The state is already spending $1.3 million on a state-funded border surge.

I guess we're not broke after all.  A bit more from Kimberly Reeves at Quorum Report.

Perry deflected criticism of his executive order to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the border this afternoon, shifting the focus from deportee children from war-torn countries to drug traffickers and criminal opportunists crossing the Texas border to commit hundreds of thousands of crimes over the last 6 years.

News of Perry’s decision to deploy the National Guard troops to assist the Department of Public Safety in the ongoing effort called Operation Strong Safety leaked out over the weekend, giving critics enough time to question the how, why and how useful the National Guard would be at the state’s southern border.

Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, called for support along the border last month with emergency funds, but he balked at the use of additional law enforcement in The Monitor over the weekend.

“They (cartels) are taking advantage of the situation,” Hinojosa told The Monitor. “But our local law enforcement from the sheriff’s offices of the different counties to the different police departments are taking care of the situation. This is a civil matter, not a military matter. What we need is more resources to hire more deputies, hire more Border Patrol. These are young people, just families coming across. They’re not armed. They’re not carrying weapons.”

For her part, Wendy Davis wishes some law enforcement officers could have been mobilized, so that some of those children could be arrested.

(Davis) responded to Perry’s announcement by calling for a different border surge—adding more sheriff’s deputies to the region.

Davis reiterated her demand last month that Perry convene an emergency legislative session to deploy the deputies.

“If the federal government won't act, Texas must and will. However, we should be deploying additional deputy sheriffs to the border like local law enforcement is calling for, rather than Texas National Guard units who aren't even authorized to make arrests,” she said in a statement following Perry’s briefing.

Okay then.  I have already posted my opinion about Davis' mistakes with regard to the border crisis, so this doesn't surprise me in the least.  Hope she gets a whole lot of Republican votes out of it, because she'll need them to replace the Democratic ones she's going to lose.

One last observation about the money it's costing us for this show of bravado force.

The National Guard deployment — added to the DPS surge — will bring the price tag of troopers on the border to about $5 million per week, the memo said. And the funding source for the effort remains unclear.

“It is not clear where the money will come from in the budget,” the memo states, adding that Perry's office has said the money will come from “non-critical” areas, such as health care or transportation.

Read that as Medicaid and highway construction.

I just exhausted my week's ration of outrage.


Gadfly said...

And Wendy Davis loses me more by the week, even if Brandon Parmer has the visibility level of a snowflake in July.

Gadfly said...

Oh, speaking of the above, I've "torn a new one" for all four gubernatorial candidates: