One June 18, the Lone Star State’s top political leaders — Governor Rick Perry (shown), Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, and House Speaker Joe Straus — authorized the Texas Department of Public Safety to start emergency “surge operations” along the south Texas border with Mexico. The surge is in response to a massive increase in the number of illegal immigrants coming across the border into Texas, the majority of whom are women and children from Central America.
“Texas can’t afford to wait for Washington to act on this crisis, and we will not sit idly by while the safety and security of our citizens are threatened,” Perry said in a statement posted on his official webpage. “Until the federal government recognizes the danger it’s putting our citizens in by its inaction to secure the border, Texas law enforcement must do everything they can to keep our citizens and communities safe.”
The trio of leaders sent a letter to DPS Director Steve McCraw on June 18, in which they pointed out that “The Texas border remains unsecured, threatening the safety of Texas citizens and provoking a humanitarian issue in our border counties.”
The letter acknowledged that while the federal government is responsible for securing the border, the failure of federal officials to fulfill this responsibility has created “an incentive for families to send their children on a dangerous, and sometimes fatal, journey.”
The above reference is to the 60,000 children unaccompanied by parents or relatives who the Obama administration estimates will pour into the United States this year — a figure that is up from about 6,000 in 2011. Hondurans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans now make up about 75 percent of illegals caught in South Texas, whereas previously most people who crossed the border illegally originated in Mexico.
Perry and the others stated that “until the federal government fulfills its duty,” Texas will do so.
Noting that last fall, McCraw and the DPS implemented a program called “Operation Strong Safety” — which utilized both technology and manpower to combat criminal activity engaged in by illegal immigrants with connections to the south-of-the-border drug cartels — Perry and the others charged McCraw to continue and implement this successful operation over a wider area.
The state leaders said to McCraw:
With this letter, you are directed to plan and execute a surge operation of increased law enforcement in Texas border counties. You are authorized to utilize all existing appropriated funds toward this operation. To the extent necessary, we will utilize our authority as governor and as co-chairs of the Legislative Budget Board to facilitate adjustments to the DPS budget until next session. The cost for this operation will need to be addressed by the next legislature in the supplemental appropriations bill.
Governor Perry was interviewed by Fox News’s Sean Hannity on June 17, who kicked off the discussion by noting the phenomenal increase in the number of illegal immigrants, including unaccompanied children, who continue to enter the United States from Central America. When Hannity asked Perry to explain how bad the situation is, the Texas governor replied:
It is an absolute overflowing mess is what it is. And this is something we brought to the attention of the president over two years ago, back in 2012, when we saw this was a major issue. We flagged this. And we're still waiting for a response not just from the president but from the administration.
During his reply, Perry also made a remarkable statement that supports what other observers have asserted — including the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO), who said in a June 11 statement that the large influx of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing our border “is a predictable, orchestrated and contrived assault.”
Perry supported this viewpoint when he said to Hannity:
We either have an incredibly inept administration [in Washington] or they’re in on this somehow. I hate to be conspiratorial, but how do you move that many people from Central America across Mexico and into the United States without there being a fairly coordinated effort?
When Hannity asked him why this influx is happening all of a sudden, and why the federal government doesn’t just send the illegal aliens back, Perry replied:
What we’re seeing is that there is a clear coordination in some form or fashion. These young people in particular, to move across Mexico, I mean, this is some pretty harsh environment from the standpoint of — you have the humanitarian side of this, forcing these kids on to trains and then — it is a staggering concept when you think about moving that many people across Mexico.
State Representative Debbie Riddle (R-Tomball) told Breitbart news that “Governor Perry is very angry that the feds are doing nothing about this problem,” and went on to say, “I didn’t expect the feds to do anything.”
At the conclusion of our article on this topic on June 10, we questioned how thousands of children from poor areas of Central America manage to find their way — en masse — about 1,800 miles through Mexico’s rough roads to arrive in south Texas, noting that it is obvious that these children did not accomplish this Herculean feat all on their own.
That observation has also become apparent to many others, including the NAFBPO and Governor Perry.
Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has this to say about the federal failure to secure the border: “The federal government has abdicated its responsibility to secure the border and protect this country from the consequences of illegal immigration, but as Texans we know how to lead in areas where Washington has failed.”
Photo of Texas Gov. Rick Perry: AP Images
Warren Mass writes from Cleburne, Texas.