The ongoing crisis over unaccompanied immigrant children coming to the United States has taken a new turn with local troops being ordered to the border of Texas and Mexico.
Gov. Rick Perry announced plans Monday to deploy 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Rio Grande Valley to help prevent crime amid the influx of young immigrants.
Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, says what's needed is humanitarian relief, not more law enforcement - which comes with a hefty price tag.
"There's been no increase in crime," says Burke. "These children are running straight into the arms of the Border Patrol. They wrap their arms around the agents and hug them. So it's unclear to us why we need to spend $12 million a month on the National Guard. It's totally unnecessary."
According to Burke, the cost to deploy the National Guard in conjunction with additional costs being incurred by the Texas Department of Public Safety to handle the surge in border crossings will total about five million dollars each week.
Burke says she's opposed to the deportation of children arriving in Texas, in part because they are coming to the U.S. to escape rampant violence and crime in their home countries.
"In 2012 our government pulled the Peace Corps out of Honduras, saying that it was too violent and too unsafe for our American volunteers to be in that country," notes Burke. "So now we're going to send these children back there?"
Over the past nine months, nearly 60,000 undocumented minors have been detained while entering the U.S., mostly coming from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. That's more than twice the number from the same time period last year.
The Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network is urging state and federal governments to provide recently-arriving children with safe and humane living conditions, medical care, and mental health support until they can be appropriately processed, and that they be released and reunited with their family members in the U.S. as quickly as possible.
- See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2014-07-22/immigrant-issues/gov-perry-sending-troops-to-border-for-child-immigrant-crisis/a40682-1#sthash.SbKaEcSu.dpuf