Texas National Guard troops will be deployed along the border, following orders from Gov. Rick Perry. It is not clear what their function will be, beyond being part of Perry’s presidential candidacy strategy for 2016.
According to Perry, the troops will protect citizens who are “under assault” because of the gradual arrival to the border of thousands of children, fleeing the violence in Central America. Several Texas Republican politicians support their governor, saying that all sorts of mobsters and criminals are entering the U.S., taking advantage that Border Patrol agents are distracted by the children.
This sounds good as apocalyptic fiction, but nothing can be further from reality. Gen. John Nichols, who is in charge of the National Guard, said that his mission is not to detain people but to “refer” immigrants. “We think they’ll come to us and say, ‘Please take us to a Border Patrol station,'” Nichols told the AP.
This is all a farce. There is no proof that today the border is more dangerous. However, the crisis is letting Perry reinforce his image of being tough on the immigration issue, which was his weakness during the last Republican presidential primary.
Since the children’s crisis started, Perry has tried to take advantage. First, he wanted to take President Obama to the border in order to obtain good photos for his campaign. Now he is showing that when it comes to border security, he does not hesitate to send in troops to face the arrival of children.
Perry’s attitude is embarrassing. His exploitation of the crisis, along with the Republican chorus that backs him, bet on fear, confusion and ignorance to gain political brownie points.
This was an opportunity for the Texas governor to show his leadership when faced with the arrival of minors and his ability to maturely handle this type of challenge. That could have been an attractive strategy to reach the White House. Nevertheless, he decided to react as poorly as possiblelike an ambitious politician who is capable of exploiting the tragedy of the children and militarizing the border to ingratiate himself with the most ultraconservative sector on immigration