Texas governor to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to border
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas Governor Rick Perry was expected to announce plans on Monday to send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Mexican border to boost security, according to local media, a move that could pile pressure on U.S. President Barack Obama.
Perry, seen as a possible Republican Party candidate in the 2016 presidential election, planned a news conference at 2 p.m. local time (1900 GMT), to speak about immigration.
Sources in the governor's office have told Texas media outlets that Perry briefed political leaders and security officials over the weekend of his plans to deploy the Texas National Guard.
Representatives for Perry had no comment on the reports.
Perry previously called on Obama to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border. In a letter to the president this month, he said, "Securing our border will provide an immediate reduction in the number of illegal immigrants entering our country."
The governor's expected announcement comes 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 into the United States.
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.
Tony Payan, director of the Mexico Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute in Houston, said Perry's plan is more about politics than security because the state's guard troops will play supporting roles on the vast border and likely be deployed for a short period of time.
"The operational impact is limited. This forces one to think that this is a political move by Rick Perry," he said.
"They can play support for the (U.S.) Border Patrol for surveillance and help in infrastructure projects like wall building," he said.
The White House and various lawmakers have called the influx a humanitarian crisis, and the Obama administration has requested an additional $3.7 billion from Congress to deal with the situation.
Republicans, who say Obama's immigration policies have encouraged the flood of minors into United States, so far have balked at signing off on the money and have reissued calls for Obama to boost border security.