Photo: Texas National Guard
The first units of the National Guard contingent Texas Gov. Rick Perry is deploying to the Mexican border amid a surge in the arrivals of unaccompanied minors from Central America are in position, authorities said Tuesday.
“The Texas National Guard currently has troops all along the border between Texas and Mexico in support of Operation Strong Safety,” Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor, public affairs officer at Texas Military Forces, told Efe.
Most of the roughly 63,000 unaccompanied minors from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who have arrived in the United States since last October entered the country via the 2,000-kilometer (1,200-mile) boundary between Texas and Mexico.
Perry announced in July that he would send 1,000 Guard troops to the border.
The governor, who is thought to be eyeing a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, said he decided to act because the federal government is not doing enough to address the crisis.
The arrival of the first National Guard units coincides with a two-day visit to California by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
“We know there are states that have not evolved as much as California,” the Mexican leader said Monday night during a public event in Los Angeles where he was joined by the Golden State’s governor, Jerry Brown.
“The imposition of discriminatory measures” targeting undocumented immigrants is “reprehensible,” Peña Nieto said.
The Mexican government earlier issued a statement “firmly and categorically” rejecting Perry’s decision to put the National Guard on the border.
Operation Strong Safety is supposed to last for 90 days and has an initial budget of $38 million, with Texas taxpayers picking up the entire tab.