Texas politicians tour base hosting immigrant kids

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by ANGELA KOCHERGA

WFAA Border Bureau

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 3 at 5:31 PM

WESLACO, Texas — Texas Gov. Rick Perry visited the Rio Grande Valley Monday and called on Washington to do more to protect the border and help Texas cope with what he called “a major pending disaster.”

Perry made the comments at the Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Headquarters in Weslaco after touring a crowded detention center filled with with Central American children.

“This isn’t a Democrat problem; this isn’t a Republican problem; this is an American problem,” Perry said.

The governor said the Border Patrol has been “overrun” by thousands of people crossing the border daily, including many children arriving from Central America. He demanded the federal government do more to secure the Texas border.

In a letter to President Obama, Perry asked for 1,000 National Guard troops and predator drones.

The governor authorized DPS to spend $1.3 million a week to add additional patrols and increase security in the Rio Grande Valley.

He and Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw said drug cartels are playing a role in the crisis by taking advantage of an overwhelmed Border Patrol to move more contraband across the border while profiting from smuggling children into the U.S.

“The cartels are very much involved with putting these young individual at risk to further their interests,” Perry said.

During his visit, the governor toured one of the crowded detention centers in the Rio Grande Valley where kids of all ages are being held.

“There are babies... babies in there who are being transported across Mexico,” Perry said.

The governor warned summer's triple-digit temperatures would pose a threat to those who try to cross the border in the months ahead, creating an even bigger humanitarian crisis.

“You’re going to see a trail of tears again from Central America to Texas," Perry said. "There will be numbers of people dying en route."

E-mail akocherga@gannett.com

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