The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

Crit­ics squawk much that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is try­ing to politi­cize the bor­der cri­sis only to bol­ster a po­ten­tial White House run in 2016. Yes, there could be some of that go­ing on, but Mr. Perry also has a suc­cinct rea­son for speak­ing out, loudly and of­ten, about the surge of il­le­gal im­mi­grants, young and old: The Lone Star State has al­ready spent a half-bil­lion dol­lars on the sit­u­a­tion.

“This is a cri­sis cre­ated by failed federal pol­icy and a lack of will to ded­i­cate the re­sources nec­es­sary to se­cure the bor­der once and for all,” he says. “This has been a prob­lem for a long time. In Texas, we’ve spent more than $500 mil­lion since 2005 to sup­ple­ment bor­der pro­tec­tion, fight­ing transna­tional gangs and drug car­tels con­duct­ing crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties in the bor­der re­gion.”

The gover­nor ex­pects more of the same. But he has a clear so­lu­tion in mind. Mr. Perry wants Pres­i­dent Obama to send 1,000 Na­tional Guard troops to the Texas-Mex­ico bor­der to aug­ment the U.S. Bor­der Pa­trol. He wants the Federal Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion to al­low drone flights in the trou­bled re­gion to track il­le­gal drug and/or hu­man traf­fick­ing. He’s not alone in his con­cerns. Last week Ma­rine Corps Gen. John Kelly, com­man­der of U.S. South­ern Com­mand, told De­fense One, “Many ar­gue these threats are not ex­is­ten­tial and do not chal­lenge our na­tional se­cu­rity. I dis­agree.”

De­fense Sec­re­tary Chuck Hagel sides with the top of­fi­cer, who is tasked with pro­tect­ing the south­ern bor­der of the U.S. “He ab­so­lutely shares that con­cern,” said Pen­tagon press sec­re­tary Rear Adm. John Kirby.

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