National Guard troops will arrive on the U.S.-Mexico border Aug. 1, the Department of Homeland Security announced today. Of the 1,200 troops deployed, Texas will see 250 — fewer than half of the 524 ordered to patrol Arizona but more than the 224 that will be sent to California. New Mexico will receive 72, and the remaining 130 will serve “as command and control and other support,” according to a DHS statement.
The Obama administration announced in May the deployment to help bolster law enforcement initiatives.
“Border security is a law enforcement mission, and these troops will augment the Administration's efforts to crack down on the drug cartels and transnational criminal organizations that operate along our Southwest border,” the DHS reiterated today.
The move will likely be met with criticism on two fronts: from officials who see the amount deployed as insufficient to the task, and from communities who fear the effects that militarization will have on local economies. Speaking with reporters following a press event today, Gov. Rick Perry said that at least 3,000 troops to Texas alone would be a better response. This comes after last month’s rally in El Paso at which advocacy groups, including El Paso-based Border Network for Human Rights, Harlingen-based Casa de Proyecto Libertad, Austin-based Freedom Ambassadors and the U.S–Mexico Border and Immigration Task Force, decried the deployment and cited statistics purporting to show that Texas’ border cities are some of the safest in the country.