Perry Signs MOU to Authorize National Guard Troops on Border
Gov. Rick Perry today signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) authorizing the deployment of National Guard Troops to the U.S.-Mexico border as part of Operation Jump Start, under which the troops will support federal border security officers. The Governors of Arizona, California and New Mexico have also signed the MOU.
“The National Guard is already a part of Texas’ border security strategy, Operation Rio Grande, which brings together federal, state and local law enforcement and the National Guard to conduct joint operations to better protect Texans from border-related crime and violence,” Perry said. In February, Perry launched Operation Rio Grande, a comprehensive border security strategy that gives the state a leading role in coordinating intelligence and law enforcement assets within an 80,000 square mile region.
National Guard troops operating in Texas as part of Operation Jump Start will remain under Perry’s command, although the federal government will cover the cost of the mission. Troop activities may include detection and monitoring, engineering, transportation, logistics, vehicle dismantling, analysis, road building and language support. The temporary deployment is expected to be phased out as new Border Patrol agents are hired.
Operation Jump Start planners immediately will be dispatched to the border to lay the groundwork for the full deployment of guard troops. About 2,300 Texas guardsmen and airmen are expected to be involved, although troop levels and deployment details are still being finalized.
“The Texas-Mexico border is becoming an increasingly dangerous and violent place for peace officers and the citizens they protect. We are pleased that we will soon have more resources and personnel to address the border threat,” Perry said. “However, we will continue to urge Congress to meet its long term responsibility, and provide the manpower and resources to secure our border.”
The Department of Homeland Security announced this week that it has cut homeland security funding for Texas – the state with the longest international border – by 31 percent from last year. Perry said this funding disparity, combined with continued federal inaction “jeopardizes our security and reinforces my belief that Texas must never wait for Washington to act.”
On Thursday, Perry announced Texas will soon provide additional funding for local law enforcement along the border, seek a long-term financial commitment from the Texas Legislature to support ongoing border security operations, and create a virtual border watch program.
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