Texas Gov. Rick Perry has called on the Texas National Guard to prepare up to 1,000 troops for deployment to the the border between his state and Mexico.
The number of migrants - many of them unaccompanied children - that has flooded into the country across the southern border in recent months has triggered what President Barack Obama has called a “humanitarian crisis,” and has sparked controversy on every side of the immigration debate.
“I’ve directed Adjutant General John Nichols to immediately prepare for deployment up to 1,000 of his troops in support of the Department of Public Safety’s ongoing surge operation,” Perry said at a Monday press conference to announce the move.
Perry has advocated for additional troops at the border, and said the move is critical for public safety in Texas.
“These additional resources will help combat the brutal Mexican drug cartels that are preying upon our communities and also will help deter others before they have a chance to harm our citizens and become criminal aliens within our borders,” he said.
Perry has criticized President Obama’s response to the crisis for weeks, including during a meeting between the two men earlier this month.
In response to Perry’s order, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the Governor’s tactics may not be what the administration considers a constructive way to solve the problem.
“What we’re hopeful is that Governor Perry will not just take these kinds of steps that are generating the kinds of headlines he intended but will actually take the kinds of steps that will be constructive to solving the problem over the long term,” Earnest said during a Monday briefing.
President Obama is scheduled to meet with the presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador - the three Central American countries many of the migrants are fleeing - next week to discuss the on-going crisis.