DALLAS — Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that President Barack Obama's decision to deploy 1,200 more soldiers as part of a $500 million effort to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border is "a good start."
"You cannot secure the border without boots on the ground," Perry said at Dallas City Hall. "So 1,200 additional uniformed individuals on the border is a good start. But it isn't going to make a difference if they are all located in one state."
White House officials have not announced where the National Guardsmen will be or when they will begin guarding the border. Perry said he has not heard whether any of the soldiers will be in Texas, and he still hasn't heard back about his January 2009 request for 1,000 guardsmen to help secure the Texas-Mexico border.
"We have not been notified of any of these moves," he said.
Obama's plan, announced this week, has sparked criticism from all sides. Many conservatives say his response is too little, too late. Human-rights groups are disturbed by the decision and are staging a series of protests, including one today in El Paso by the Border Network for Human Rights.
"We are frustrated and disappointed by the Obama administration because this strategy is a recipe for disaster," said Fernando Garcia, the group's executive director. "This militarization will further alienate border communities and jeopardize the success of border security goals and the fight against real criminal threats."
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