Matt Vespa

As the border crisis drags on, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, a Republican, has decided to take matters into his own hands; he’s ordered 1,000 National Guard soldiers to head towards the border. It will cost $12 million a month.

Additionally, these units could be given arrest powers if they come across any immigrants trying to illegally enter the United States (via NYT):

In 2006, President George W. Bush sent 6,000 troops to the four border states where they repaired and built fences and roads, conducted surveillance and took over administrative and logistical duties. In 2010, Mr. Obama deployed 1,200 troops to bolster border security. Troops in those deployments did not have arrest and apprehension powers.

The ones due at the border next month will work side by side not with federal Border Patrol agents but with state police officers of the Department of Public Safety. They will not be able to enforce federal immigration laws but may be able to enforce state law. A 19th-century federal law [Posse Comitatus] that makes it a crime for military personnel to perform civilian law enforcement activities does not apply to state-duty troops.

It remains unclear if Mr. Perry will grant the troops the authority to make apprehensions. General Nichols suggested this week that Guard troops could do so if the governor requested it but that they had no plans to.

Mr. Perry has previously favored such powers. In a letter to President Obama last month, he asked him to deploy 1,000 troops under presidential authority and to give those troops “arrest powers to support Border Patrol operations.”

I’m sure Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration will have a problem with this…after their next fundraiser.


Matt Vespa

Matt Vespa is the Web Editor and Community Manager at Townhall.com. He previously worked for CNS News and was the recipient of Americans for Prosperity Foundation's 2013 Andrew Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Activism and Investigative Reporting.