AUSTIN (KXAN) – It’s no secret Gov. Rick Perry needs to put down his political foot when it comes to illegal immigration in his home state. Republicans, especially Tea Partiers, won’t stand for inaction.
So it’s no surprise Monday’s announcement to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to the border follows several hints Perry will make a second bid for the presidency.
“We’ve sent the message that if we don’t get the satisfaction that the federal government’s going to move and move quickly, then the state of Texas will in fact fill that void,” Perry said Sunday in Iowa where he met with veterans and conservative activists.
“…unless you’re just completely partisan, you’re clearly getting the message that this president doesn’t care,” he said. “That he’s either disengaged or disingenuous…one of the two. And Americans lives are at stake here. This is about the security of this country. When we see the numbers of people illegally coming into this country, that are committing these acts of violence and criminality towards our citizens… There is going to be a big push back. This administration needs to understand the importance of allowing the national guard to go in and fill the gaps right now as they prepare long term the border patrol agents that are gonna be needed.”
In the true grassroots political style Hawkeye State voters have come to expect as the kickoff to the primary season, Perry indeed appears to be gearing up for 2016. Caucus voters pushed him aside two years ago, but the immigration issue might be just the thing the Perry needs, as he steps down from his marathon governorship in Texas.
And his seeming tactic is working – on the media front, at least. He has appeared a handful of times over the last month on national Sunday talk shows discussing the border.
During that period, Perry has harshly criticized President Barack Obama for mishandling a surge of more than 50,000 undocumented and unaccompanied children across the U.S.-Mexico border since last fall. Ahead of all requests, Perry called on the Obama administration to deploy the National Guard to address the problem.
Following a meeting with Perry in Dallas a few weeks ago, Obama said he would consider the request – though a better option was for Congress to approve emergency spending to combat the situation. He asked Perry for help influencing passage of the plan with Republicans in Congress.
But Perry has urged the president to visit the border himself. That continued insistence has been point of political contention among the ultra-conservative side of Perry’s own party. Several state Tea Party leaders have said the governor should stop “finger pointing,” and instead call up troops on his own – at the state’s expense.
Many Texas Democratic officials have criticized the governor’s announcement as a political decision, not a solution.
“We know how to secure the border,” Perry reiterated to Iowans. “If the federal government will not do its duty, then I will suggest to you that the state of Texas will.”