Texas Border Officials, Residents Say National Guard Surge 'Pointless'

Texas Border Officials, Residents Say National Guard Surge 'Pointless'

"Self- described conservative Jesus Cantu sees his family home, buffered by a wooden fence and high barbed wire, as ground zero of the Texas border battles.  But unlike his fellow conservative, Gov. Rick Perry, he doesn't believe it's a battle the National Guard can fight.  Cantu's doubts echo those of county judges, sheriffs and other officials along the Rio Grande who say the crisis involving thousands of unaccompanied migrant children has not brought with it a spike in crime, as Perry asserted when he announced the guard deployment Monday. ... Cantu, a 27-year-old paramedic, doesn't understand Perry's decision this week to send 1,000 National Guard troops to help with the border crisis.  "It's pointless," he said. "What are they doing to do? It's not going to make any difference." ... "This is a good media event, but it's not practical, it's not going to work," said Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia. "It's creating the perception that we're in a violent crime zone of some kind, and we're not."  Interim Sheriff Eddie Guerra suggested the $12 million could be better used to shore up local law enforcement agencies who know the terrain and the communities and have developed informants.  "To give 1,000 National Guard troops who have absolutely no authority to enforce any law, not even immigration law, they're just extra eyes and ears, to give them a weapon just to play scarecrow, I just don't agree with that," Guerra said.  McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said his city hasn't seen any increase in crime since the influx of children began, and noted that, historically, the border metroplex is much safer than Dallas, Houston and even Austin. ... Victor Manjarrez Jr., a former chief patrol agent of the Border Patrol's Tucson sector and currently associate director of the National Center for Border Security and Immigration in El Paso, said he was dismayed to hear that the National Guard would provide tactical support." - Houston Chronicle, July 25, 2014.