Texas Governor Rick Perry announced Monday plans to send up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border within a month to stem the incoming flow of child migrants, the Washington Post reported.
The National Guard troops won’t have the power to apprehend anyone. They’ll be there mainly to intimidate migrants who are crossing into the country as “force multipliers,” Texas ABC affiliate KVUE reported. The plan would cost $12 million a month.
“I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor,” Perry said Monday, the Washington Post reported.
More than 57,000 child migrants have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border this year, and 90,000 are expected by year’s end. Children under 12 years old make up the bulk of the largest growth in those who are crossing into the U.S., Pew Research Center announced today.
It’s unclear yet what role they will take in the crisis. Most migrants have willingly turned themselves in to law enforcement when they’ve been approached, the Washington Post reports.
In the political debate over what to do to address the crisis, Perry has gone hard against President Obama, returning to political lines long favored by conservative politicians by accusing Obama of doing nothing to “secure the borders” in the face of the current crisis. There’s plenty of overlap between Perry and Obama’s actual policy desires, though. In early July, Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion to address the current situation. Nearly of the requested money would go to house and care for child migrants while they await immigration processing, but much of the funds would go to border enforcement, detention facilities, and immigration judges who could expedite the processing of migrants.
In the U.S. the conversation has primarily been an immigration-focused one, but the U.N. has urged that the child migrants, most of whom are fleeing violence and gang recruitment in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, be considered refugees.