This story has been updated.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) reportedly plans to dispatch the Texas National Guard to the U.S. border with Mexico, according to news reports.
Perry will announce his plans Monday to mobilize some 1,000 guardsmen to the Rio Grande Valley to increase security at the border, according to the Monitor, a south Texas newspaper. The newspaper quoted a state senator and an internal memo it obtained from a state official’s office.
Perry spokesman Felix Browne told The Washington Post he would neither confirm nor deny the report, but said all details will be given at a news conference at 2 p.m. Central time Monday in Austin. It was unclear what mission the guard will have.
The news comes amid the continued surge of young immigrants, most of them from Central America, crossing the border and scattered protests in a few U.S. cities from those who don’t want them housed in their midst. Perry, a potential 2016 Republican presidential contender, spoke in Iowa and elsewhere in recent days, promising to take matters into his own hands if President Obama does not act.
Perry is among Republicans who have been calling the border situation Obama’s “Katrina,” a reference to the political beating taken by President George W. Bush after federal authorities botched the post-hurricane operation in New Orleans in 2005. It’s a clear signal Republicans will use the border crisis against any Democratic contender in 2016.
“If the federal government does not do its constitutional duty to secure the Southern border of the United States, the state of Texas will do it,” Perry said Sunday at a Republican barbecue in Iowa.
Following the murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz in 2010, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) ordered the National Guard to patrol the border to protect New Mexico residents. Republicans in Congress have been urging Obama for some time to use the guard along the border.
Perry, who has been asking Obama to make the call, recently told Fox News Sunday that mobilizing the troops now is important “because this flood of children is pulling away the border patrol from their normal duties of keeping bad people, keeping the drug cartels, they’re being distracted, so that I would suggest is a very obvious reason that those National Guard troops should come play an important role.”
Obama sent the guard to the border in 2010 to support the Border Patrol. In 2006, Bush, in response to requests for support enforcing federal immigration laws from the governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, sent some 6,000 National Guard troops to the Southern border for the same reason.