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Gov. Perry Visits National Guard Troops Ahead of Border Deployment

Gov. Rick Perry visited Camp Swift yesterday ahead of his deployment of National Guard troops and Department of Public Safety troopers to the border.

The aim of the operation – dubbed “Operation Strong Safety” – is to use troops to supplement border patrols, prevent illegal border crossings and assist federal and state authorities struggling to process an influx of unaccompanied children crossing the border from Central American countries.

Gov. Perry's visit focused on two main points.

First, to show gratitude for the National Guard troops that volunteered for the mission to the border. The mission will deploy no more than 1,000 troops in the field at any time. So far, about 22-hundred people have volunteered for the mission.

"But I also tell people that, what did you expect, this is Texas,” Perry said to the troops.”

Second, Perry wanted to once again point out the failings of the federal government on border security. Some lawmakers have started questioning how the state will continue to pay the more than $17 million dollars a month for National Guard and Texas DPS officers’ deployment near the border. Perry says the state will simply do what needs to be done.

"I don't know how long that goes,” Perry said. “But I know that the people of the state of Texas will support what we're doing to secure that border until our friends in Washington understand that it is their Constitutional requirement to fund the border."

The Governor says he's been clear in his message that Congress should reimburse Texas for this effort. A message he'll start hammering again when federal lawmakers end their August break.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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