Castro to Perry: National Guard deployment 'rooted in politics'
JACOB FISCHLER | THE MONITOR FOLLOW @FISCHLERRGV | Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014 5:02 pm
U.S. Rep Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, on Monday repeated a denouncement of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops to the Rio Grande Valley. And he urged the governor to “set a more positive tone” on border issues and meet with Texas' Congressional delegation to work to pass President Barack Obama’s $3.7 billion supplemental funding request to address the influx of Central American immigrants across the state’s southern border.
“[F]or too long the border has been used as a boogey man for political gain,” Castro wrote in a letter to the governor. “Whether you acknowledge it or not, many of the cities along the Texas-Mexico region are among the safest in our nation. By sensationalizing the level of crime and violence in our border communities you damage the economic potential of places like McAllen, Brownsville, Laredo and El Paso.”
The letter was a response to a July 23 correspondence Perry sent to Castro, accusing the congressman of “misunderstanding” the 1,000-troop National Guard deployment Perry announced July 21.
“I recently read your remarks in the press regarding my decision to send up to 1,000 members of the Texas National Guard to enhance border security efforts currently underway along the Texas-Mexico border,” Perry wrote. “Your comments indicated a basic misunderstanding about the very positive role the Guard will play in tackling the border security crisis.”
Castro responded to the “misunderstanding” critique Monday by asserting his military issues credentials.
“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Representative for San Antonio, Military City USA, I am aware of the value of the National Guard,” the letter’s first paragraph reads. “However, in this humanitarian situation, I disagree with your approach, which appears to be rooted in politics more than sound public policy.”
Perry is not seeking re-election this fall, but has said he is considering a second run for the White House in 2016.
The Monitor quoted Castro in the initial report of the Guard’s deployment criticizing the approach as an attempt to “militarize the border.”
The deployment is expected to begin this week and cost about $12 million per month.