Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry, donning a tan suit and cowboy boots, welcomed President Obama to the Lone Star State today with a hearty handshake on a Texas tarmac. But that’s not all the Republican had for the president.
After greeting Obama at Austin Bergstrom International Airport Monday morning, Perry pulled a letter from his suit pocket and handed it to presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett — who was right behind the president — warning the president about the “dire threat amassing on our southern border,” and asking for 1,000 more National Guard troops to be stationed along the Texas border.
In the letter, provided by the governor’s office, Perry said that since 2006, the drug cartels have killed 28,000 people. “Absent stronger federal action, it’s only a matter of time before that violence affects more innocent Americans,” he wrote.
While the Obama administration plans to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the southwest border, Perry said, the less than 300 personnel expected in Texas is “clearly insufficient.”
“The need for border security along the Rio Grande should no longer be underestimated by the federal government, Mr. President,” Perry wrote. “An unsecured border is a threat to our national security and to the safety and security of all our citizens.”
Perry also renewed a standing request for Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to meet with him and his staff about the issue. An administration official, though, told The Daily Caller that Napolitano sent Perry a letter last week “laying out the enforcement steps we’ve taken — and Governor Perry was offered a top-level NSC briefing but he declined.”
Reached for comment, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said the White House will “work closely with the House Leadership in the hope of moving the border security package as soon as possible so we can add more important, permanent resources to continue bolstering security on our Southwest border.”
“Over the past eighteen months, this Administration has dedicated unprecedented personnel, technology, and resources to the border and we will continue to take decisive action to disrupt criminal organizations and the networks they exploit,” he said.