Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry warned members of Congress Thursday that transnational gangsters and terrorists are looking to exploit the border crisis, which he said endangers the nation’s security.
At a House Homeland Security Field Hearing at South Texas College in McAllen, Texas, Perry said gangsters and terrorists can easily take advantage of the crisis at the border that has “strained the Border Patrol,” which Perry said already has “insufficient” resources. He said because the Border Patrol now has to focus on the overflow of illegal immigrant children instead of on their “primary task,” the border is “less secure than at any time in the recent past.”
Perry said that “transnational gangs are seeking to take advantage of this situation,” and the border is so porous that people from nations that have ties to terrorism can also sneak in as well.
The Texas governor also said that allowing the illegal immigrant children from Central America to remain in the United States is “not a more humane option” because it will “only encourage the next group of individuals to undertake this very dangerous” and often deadly journey.
“What’s the next group of people?” Perry asked, saying that if the United States allows illegal immigrants from Central America to remain the country, then other nations with even more dangerous people may want to encourage their citizens to come to America en masse as well.
He said this “humanitarian crisis” will turn into a “monumental tragedy” unless the Obama administration sends a clear message that those who enter the nation illegally will be sent back.
“Secure this border, Mr. President,” Perry said, calling on Obama to “finally address this issue” and “invest sufficient resources.”
Perry called for an increase in the number of National Guard units along the border, everyone released into the United States to be medically screened, and full reimbursement for “fulfilling a federal responsibility.”
Perry, who during his failed 2012 presidential run said that people who do not support giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrant children who came to the nation “through no fault of their own” do not have “a heart,” estimated that 160,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America are expected to try to come to the United States illegally next year.