Texas Gov, Rick Perry announced Monday the activation of up to 1,000 National Guard troops and their dispatch to the southern border to help stem the flow of illegal aliens, which includes a large number of unaccompanied children. There are a number of reasons Perry took this unilateral action. Some of them are not quite as obvious to the media and the governor’s Democratic opponents.
The National Guard has reconnaissance assets that would be of great use to local law enforcement to detect where illegal aliens are crossing in real time. State officials are also suggesting that guardsmen will have the power to detain illegal aliens until law enforcement can be summoned to place them under arrest. Finally the show of force that can be provided by heavily armed troops would prove to be intimidating to some of the illegals and the drug cartel members who are facilitating them.
The last may be a key. Hot Air notes an incident in which cartel members apparently placed Border Patrol agents under fire with a heavy machine gun to give cover to a group of illegals crossing the Rio Grande. The National Guard would provide enough fire power to respond to such attacks.
Not all of the illegals crossing the border are young children. A great many of them are adults, cartel members and members of gangs such as MS-13 who are taking advantage of the chaos along the border to make violent mischief. Additional troops should serve as a deterrent to that sort of thing.
This has not stopped Perry’s critics, such as the Houston Chronicle, from sniping. They suggest that Perry might use the resources being devoted to sending in the National Guard to facilitate the care and feeding of illegals now in federal custody. They are shocked by the idea that Perry might have his own presidential ambitions in mind. To be sure showing decisive leadership does tend to burnish the case for becoming president.