As militias vow to protect the Texas border from illegal immigrants, Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) said he believes the president has an ulterior motive for not moving quickly to prevent the overwhelming numbers of immigrants crossing the border.
Between January 1 and June 15, 2014, more than 52,000 unaccompanied alien children have been apprehended after crossing the Mexican border into the US, according to Customs and Border Patrol. The children are mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Including adults, over 181,000 undocumented immigrants who are “other than Mexicans,” or OTMs, have been apprehended along the southwest border in that time period. The majority of illegal aliens are coming through the Rio Grande Valley in southwest Texas.
As the United States struggles to deal with a huge wave of undocumented minors, the government is currently planning to convert an empty, 55,000-square foot warehouse in McAllen, Texas into an immigration processing center, located about one mile away from the Rio Grande Valley border patrol station. Meanwhile, the Army base in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, was designated as a third military base to house children illegally and will initially house 600 children before bumping up its capacity to 1,200. Over the last few months, similar housing facilities have been created in California and Texas.
With the overwhelming influx of undocumented minors, most of whom have not been vaccinated against infectious diseases like measles, there is fear of potential epidemics. According to the Daily Mail, a rabies outbreak has already been reported by Border Patrol, and officials in Texas are beginning to worry that other infections could spread as well. In Rio Grande, at least, the children are not being screened for diseases.
Enter the Texas and national militias to save the day, the groups say. Over the weekend, a call went out from a coalition of “Patriots” to help with a citizen militia operation called “Secure Our Border – Laredo” to defend private property in the Laredo area and other Texas locations from “drug cartels and from gangs, particularly the MS-13 gangs,” a spokeswoman for the group, Denice Freeman, told The Monitor.
A similar alert went out in mid-June on FreeRepublic.com. “All Texas & National Militia Available Please Converge Immediately Status GO: Mission close down Laredo Crossing for starters ((All need to be closed)) Operation complete when border fence is in place and secure,” the alert said.
Tim Brown at Freedom Outpost calls the current humanitarian crisis an “invasion” that needs to be stopped by the militias.
“This sounds totally American and Constitutional to me. After all, it is constitutional militia, not National Guard or DHS, which are supposed to repel invasions. However, some elected representatives just don't understand the Constitution,” he wrote in a blog post.
During a conference call among militia groups after the first alert went out, one of the call leaders said there are 500 of their troops currently deployed on the Arizona/Mexico border, and as well as “boots on the ground” in CBP’s Laredo sector, Breitbart reported. A state representative, Steve Toth, was also on the call and said that Texas Department of Public Safety Director, Colonel Steve McCraw “is not looking for anyone to show up on the border to help DPS or the Guard. If you would like to join the Guard we would love to have you but don't show up on the border to help it will only cause confusion and lead to someone getting hurt."
While the state’s governor has not asked for help from militias, he hasn’t thrown his support behind the federal government’s handling of the crisis, either. He has been extremely critical of President Barack Obama’s reaction to the lack of border control in Texas.
“This president, I will suggest, is totally and absolutely either inept or making some decisions that are not in the best interests of American citizens,” Perry said during a June 17 interview with Fox News.
He repeated that accusation in an ABC News interview on Sunday.
“I don’t believe he particularly cares whether or not the border of the United States is secure,” Perry told ABC’s Martha Raddatz. “And that’s the reason there’s been this lack of effort, this lack of focus, this lack of resources.”
“The president has sent powerful messages time after time — by his policies, by nuances that it is OK to come to the United States and you can come across and you’ll be accepted in open arms. That is the real issue,” he added. “He sends — I have to believe that when you do not respond in any way, that you are either inept, or you have some ulterior motive of which you are functioning from.”
Perry also believes many of the people being apprehended at the border are coming from the Middle East, not Central America.
“We also have record high numbers of other than Mexicans being apprehended at the border,” he said to Fox News. “These are people that are coming from states like Syria that have substantial connections back to terrorist regimes.”
Politifact Texas rated Perry’s claim as “Pants on Fire!”