Gov. Perry sending National Guard troops to border

(CNN) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry will immediately send up to 1,000 National Guard troops to help secure the southern border, where tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America have crossed into the United States this year in a surge that is deemed a humanitarian crisis.

Perry also wants President Barack Obama and Congress to hire an additional 3,000 border patrol agents for the Texas border, which would eventually replace the temporary guard forces.

"I will not stand idly by," Perry said in Austin Monday, announcing what he called Operation Strong Safety. "The price of inaction is too high."

Perry's state has received the majority of migrant children, especially in the Rio Grande region, and he has repeatedly called on the federal government to beef up border security.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House has not yet received the formal communication required for Perry to deploy guard troops. But he said if Perry follows through, he hopes those forces would be coordinated "with the significant ongoing efforts already in place."

The Rio Grande sector, where most of the immigrant children are turning themselves into the border patrol, has a large number of agents but it is also the largest crossing.

It currently has 3,000 border patrol agents covering 320 miles of land and 250 miles of water, which equates to 5.4 agents per mile. The Tucson sector, for instance, has approximately 15.7 agents per mile.

Both Perry and President Obama have the authority to deploy National Guard troops, but whoever authorizes it has to pay for it. The deployment at Perry's direction means Texas will have to pick up the price tag of $12 million per month.

 


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