Gov. Perry: Warning Signs Along Border Must be Heeded by Washington
August 9, 2010

During his quick “meeting” and brief conversation with President Barack Obama at the airport in Austin on Monday,  Governor Rick Perry handed a letter to one of the President’s aides.

The Governor asked for 1000 National Guard troops along the Texas Mexico border and warned of  “grave danger.”

You can read Perry’s letter here:  http://governor.state.tx.us/files/press-office/080910_PerryObamaletter.pdf

After his brief  meeting with President Obama at the airport in Austin, Governor Rick Perry spoke to the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

(below is a media statement from the Governor’s office)

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today described the rapid escalation of drug cartel-related killings in northern Mexico, and said that absent federal action it was only a matter of time before communities on the Texas side of the border would be further swept up in the violence.

“Washington has been an abject failure at securing the border, leaving it vulnerable to exploitation, and our citizens exposed to grave danger,” Gov. Perry said.  “An unsecured US-Mexico border is a serious national security threat, menacing the safety and security of our citizens, and the federal government is obligated to secure it. Our citizens deserve the best possible effort to protect them from this advancing network of criminal gangs.”

Gov. Perry spoke to the Texas Public Policy Foundation shortly after a brief meeting with President Obama on the tarmac at Austin Bergstrom Airport as the president exited Air Force One. The governor presented President Obama with a four-page letter outlining his concerns about the state of border security and the growing threats posed by drug cartels and transnational gangs.

“Drug cartels and related forces are waging war in Northern Mexico, their tactics including death threats, torture, car bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and beheadings. Since 2006, this war has taken 28,000 lives,” Gov. Perry wrote in the letter. “We cannot afford to allow these cartels to believe they’re free to extend their reach across the border onto American soil.”

A series of incidents in Texas indicate the violence has already begun reaching U.S. communities, Gov. Perry said, noting a midlevel member of the Juarez Cartel living in El Paso was shot eight times outside of his Texas residence in May 2009; Mexican pirate attacks occurred on Falcon Reservoir in May; and bullets from a gun battle in Juarez struck El Paso City Hall in June.

Gov. Perry also reiterated his request for 1,000 Title 32 National Guard troops to be deployed in Texas, along with an increase in other resources.

White: Perry a failure on border issues
August 9, 2010

 Governor Rick Perry greeted President Barack Obama as he arrived in Austin Monday.

Perry also gave the President a letter outlining his desire to get more federal resources along the Texas-Mexico border.

Meanwhile, former Houston Mayor Bill White, who has been criticized for dodging the President during his visit to Texas, released the statement below.

White is the democratic candidate in the race for Governor of  Texas. 

MIDLAND — Bill White today issued the following statement on Rick Perry’s record of border failure.

“While the federal government has failed in its essential responsibility of securing our borders, Rick Perry has failed too. For ten years, Perry has failed to get the resources we need. For ten years, Perry has failed to be an effective advocate for our state, no matter what party has a majority in Congress, no matter who is President. As governor, I will set politics aside on border issues, and take action. I’ll work with everyone from the President and our Texas congressional delegation to border governors and local law enforcement. We will find a solution so that daily, lawful business across the border thrives and communities remain safe,” said Bill White.

Perry’s record of failure on the border includes his $4 million pet program of border cameras which has yielded only 26 arrests. In April, Perry was slammed by border area congressmen for failing to allocate to the border sufficient federal dollars given to the state. In March, Perry “activated” a secret border plan without consulting local leaders, and elected officials and law enforcement criticized the governor’s approach.

Perry consistently uses false border crime statistics despite being called to the carpet for it and has become infamous for his election year posturing. This month, Perry even went as far as falsely claiming that bombs were exploding in El Paso, harming local businesses and security efforts.

Perry’s pet program of border cameras a failure
Over the objection of the state legislature, Perry spent “$4 million of federal grant money that he controls in the Texas Border Watch Program” to install 29 cameras. The cameras have resulted in “26 arrests and the seizure of about 7,400 pounds of narcotics in two years.” Sheriff Omar Lucio in Cameron County opposed the camera program from the beginning, saying “On a yearly basis here, I confiscate six to seven tons [of narcotics]. I don’t need the cameras. I just need the manpower.”

(Texas Tribune: Border Cameras Produce Little in Two Years, $153,800 per Arrest, 4/20/2010)

Border congressmen ask Perry to stop diverting border security dollars
In April, a group of border congressmen called on Perry to send more of the federal funds given to the state of Texas to Border communities, stating that while “Texas has been awarded an average of $125 million a year over the last four…, the border receiv[ed] as little as 3% of those funds each year.”

(Letter from Congressmen Rodriguez, Cuellar, Reyes, Ortiz, and Hinojosa, 4/8/2010)

Perry’s secret border plan
“Perry announced Tuesday that he implemented the lowest tier of the Texas Spillover Contingency Plan….The announcement came as a surprise to many officials along the border….’We live on the border and have responsibility for our communities and our citizens. However, at this point we are learning about your plans from the media, along with everyone else,’ Texas Border Coalition chairman Efrain Valdez wrote in a letter to Perry on Wednesday. ‘This makes it impossible for us to coordinate with your office to create the most effective strategy to keep our border communities safe.'”

(The Monitor: White, border politicians, jab governor’s spillover plan, 3/21/2010)

White promises action, not political gamesmanship
In March, Bill White pressed U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano for more resources and airborne surveillance of the Texas border. As governor, Bill White will talk with senior officials in Washington to get things done, as he did throughout his time as Houston’s mayor during both the previous and current administrations. “Law enforcement both along the border and in other areas of Texas requires working with sheriffs, police chiefs, state officials and federal agencies. An uncoordinated, secret plan is not an effective plan,” White said.

(Bill White for Texas: Bill White on border headlines, 3/18/2010)

Perry’s border crime stats wildly inaccurate
In numerous public appearances and on both publicly-funded and campaign websites, Governor Perry has falsely claimed 60-65% drops in border crime or crime rates. In fact, total crime rates in the 14 Texas counties bordering Mexico dropped 3.1% between 2005 and 2008.

(Bill White for Texas: White: Don’t play politics with law enforcement, 3/25,2010)

Perry distracts attention from his border failure by falsely claiming that bombs are exploding in El Paso on national television
“You’ve got bullets hitting City Hall in El Paso. You’ve got bombs exploding in El Paso,” Rick Perry told Fox News. “Perry later made a similar statement in Laredo, saying a car bomb went off in El Paso, according to Pro8News.” “Perry did harm to the name and the goals of El Paso by trying to make a point to the nation that the federal government isn’t doing its job of protecting our southern border.”

(El Paso Times, Misstatements by Perry hurt El Paso critics say, 8/4/2010; El Paso Dissed: Governor’s misstatements hurt, 8/5/2010).