June 5, 2009
By SIG CHRISTENSON
SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS
A new border security proposal drafted by Gov. Rick Perry would put 600 soldiers in “reconnaissance platoons” to scour 20 remote areas for drug and immigrant smugglers, part of a call-up of 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to full-time duty.
In his latest of a series of anti-crime border initiatives, Perry wrote in an April 2 letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that the patrols would “provide an immediate increase in the ‘boots on the ground.’ ”
Napolitano so far has made no recommendation to President Barack Obama.
Perry considers border security a federal responsibility, a spokeswoman said. He could call out the Guard on his own, but Texas would have to pay for it. The $135.6 million it would cost the first year isn’t included in the state’s recently adopted $182.3 billion budget for 2010-2011. . .
Whatever Obama’s answer, the proposal is good politics for a Republican governor running for re-election in a conservative state, said Cal Jillson, professor of political science at Southern Methodist University.
But, Jillson said, it’s "not good Republican Party politics for the longer term," because if the state GOP "continues to be seen as favoring militarization of the border, that is likely to repel Hispanic voters."
"I think that we can be quite certain that the governor will resolve this conflict in favor of his short-term political needs," he added.
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