Skip to main content

Perry Urges Mexican President to Visit Texas, See Guard at Work

Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday invited Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to witness for himself the operations of the National Guard patrolling the Texas side of the Rio Grande.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, flaned by Adjutant General John Nichols, l, and DPS Director Steve McCraw, talks to National Gu...

Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday invited Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to witness for himself the operations of the National Guard patrolling the Texas side of the Rio Grande.

The invitation was a response to the Mexican president telling media outlets that Perry’s decision to deploy the guard was “reprehensible.”

In a letter that praised Peña Nieto’s leadership and stressed the importance of binational cooperation, Perry said he would “not be dissuaded by rhetoric of any kind.”

“As Texas’ economy has grown, commerce between Texas and Mexico has flourished, creating opportunity for families on both sides of the border,” Perry said. “That is why your comments last week were particularly concerning. I believe strongly that our continued prosperity depends on a partnership that works collaboratively to address our shared border security challenges, rather than marginalizing the legitimate views of one side.”

But Perry also pointed the finger back at Mexico, saying Texas' challenges on the border are "partly a consequence of the failure of the Mexican government to secure its southern border from illegal immigration by unaccompanied children and other individuals from Central America, or to deploy adequate resources to control the criminal element in Mexico." 

Perry’s letter to Peña Nieto comes less than a week after Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst lambasted the Mexican government for decrying the National Guard deployment on the same day the United States was remembering the terrorist attacks of 2001.

Perry, though repeatedly stressing his duty and right to protect the border, took a more moderate tone and reiterated the economic and historical ties between the two countries.

“As friends we might not always agree, but we must have an honest and respectful dialogue about the challenges we share, which is why I write to you today,” he wrote. “My time as governor has seen significant changes for both of our nations.  Under your leadership, Mexico has undergone remarkable reforms, including measures to increase economic competitiveness and create opportunities for hardworking families, such as education reform, fiscal reform and the privatization of its energy industry.”

Since taking office in December 2012, Peña Nieto and his administration have changed the tax system in Mexico, tackled telecommunications reform and reformed the country’s constitution to allow private investment in Mexico’s petroleum monopoly, PEMEX.

Energy reform in Mexico is thought by business and economic leaders to be something that will offer an economic boon to Texas-based energy companies.

Though violence has decreased dramatically in former hotspots like Ciudad Juárez, which sits across the border from El Paso, cartel-related killings have continued across Mexico. In the border state of Tamaulipas, where tens of thousands of undocumented migrants from Central America have sought entry into Texas, the Mexican military has replaced local and state police due to corruption and incompetence.

In its criticism of Perry’s deployment, the Mexican government joins several Texas Democrats who have said the surge sends the wrong message to Texas’ southern neighbor and hurts the border economy.

Despite the continuing cartel violence and disagreements over immigration policies and security, Mexico has remained Texas’ largest trading partner and the third-largest trading partner with the U.S., following Canada and China. The Laredo and El Paso customs districts rank as the busiest inland ports on the border. Through July of this year, Laredo has seen about $155 billion in two-way trade. El Paso has seen about $50 billion, according to WorldCity, a Florida-based trade company that uses U.S. census data to track trade patterns.

Below is the full text of Perry’s letter to Peña Nieto:

Dear President Peña Nieto:

I read with interest and concern your comments regarding border security on the week of September 11, which called Texas’ increased law enforcement presence on the border “unpleasant” and “reprehensible.”  As neighbors and economic partners, Mexico and the United States are inextricably bound by shared interests and culture.  As friends we might not always agree, but we must have an honest and respectful dialogue about the challenges we share, which is why I write to you today.

My time as governor has seen significant changes for both of our nations.  Under your leadership, Mexico has undergone remarkable reforms, including measures to increase economic competitiveness and create opportunities for hardworking families, such as education reform, fiscal reform and the privatization of its energy industry.

All the while, our two countries have continued prosperous trade and cultural relationships.  Texas is a national example of job creation in the United States, and our economic climate and strong infrastructure network have allowed us to become the nation’s largest exporting state.  As Texas’ economy has grown, commerce between Texas and Mexico has flourished, creating opportunity for families on both sides of the border.

That is why your comments last week were particularly concerning.  I believe strongly that our continued prosperity depends on a partnership that works collaboratively to address our shared border security challenges, rather than marginalizing the legitimate views of one side.  Our partnership cannot advance if we fail to acknowledge the serious issues associated with lax border enforcement along both of our southern borders.

Our unique relationship as neighbors who share a nearly 2,000 mile border not only requires a spirit of cooperation, but a willingness to confront problems with direct, candid dialogue.  The fact is, cartel violence plagues our international border and jeopardizes the security of citizens on both sides of the border.  Furthermore, the number of illegal alien apprehensions in this country has been on the rise for the past few years.  While many seek only economic opportunity, some seek to exploit our porous border with criminal intent.  I will continue to act as necessary to uphold my constitutional obligations, and when it comes to the safety and security of Texans, I will not be dissuaded by rhetoric of any kind.

This crisis has manifested itself in the faces of scared children undertaking perilous journeys, traveling from Central America across Mexico to reach the United States.  The threat posed to these young children, families along the border, and communities across Texas as a result of a porous border is real.  That is why I directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas’ National Guard to provide additional law enforcement resources in the border region.  As the Governor of Texas, I have an obligation to put the safety of our citizens first.  Those obeying our laws have nothing to fear from our increased law enforcement presence.  In fact, I would like to invite you to visit my state to see firsthand the professionalism of our National Guard soldiers and their law enforcement partners as they work to secure the border.

Our challenges today are partly a consequence of the failure of the Mexican government to secure its southern border from illegal immigration by unaccompanied children and other individuals from Central America, or to deploy adequate resources to control the criminal element in Mexico.  Whether along Mexico’s southern border or Texas’, we must ensure our borders are secured in a manner that discourages illicit activities while allowing for legitimate commerce and lawful immigration, and I encourage you to take the necessary steps to do so along your country’s southern border.

Our shared border represents a common opportunity to enforce the rule of law and continue a productive dialogue that addresses the evolving realities and challenges of border security.  I would be honored to host you in Texas, and am hopeful the United States and Mexico can work as partners to find solutions to these challenges, now and in the future.

Sincerely,

Rick Perry

Governor

Quality journalism doesn't come free

Yes, I'll donate today