Gov. Rick Perry today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urging the federal government to stop its plans to transport illegal aliens from other states into Texas solely for the purpose of deportation. The Alien Transfer and Exit Program (ATEP), which is scheduled to begin tomorrow, would transport more than 34,000 illegal aliens per year through Presidio.
"Turning the Presidio area into a way station for the repatriation of illegal immigrants adds responsibility to local authorities and holds the potential of increasing the strain on local and state infrastructure and resources," Gov. Perry said. "This plan will increase the likelihood that these individuals will immediately cross back into Texas, which is already bearing an uneven burden in dealing with immigration and border security issues along the Texas-Mexico border."
Gov. Perry noted this program is a result of the federal government's continued lack of an effective strategy for dealing with border security.
"Texas is proud of its working relationship with the United States Border Patrol, and we have invested significant state resources to assist them in their worthy efforts. We will continue to request that the federal government send the adequate resources necessary to effectively secure the southern border," Gov. Perry said.
Since January, Gov. Perry has repeatedly urged the federal government, through letters to President Barack Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, to approve his request for 1,000 Title 32 National Guardsmen to support civilian law enforcement efforts to enhance border security in Texas.
A porous border places Texas and the nation at risk from international terrorists, organized crime cartels and transnational gangs. Until the federal government fulfills its responsibility of securing our border, Texas will continue filling in the gaps by putting more boots on the ground, providing increased law enforcement resources and leveraging technology along the border.
In the absence of adequate federal resources to secure the state's southern border, Gov. Perry recently announced the state's latest border security enhancement using highly-skilled Ranger Reconnaissance (Ranger Recon) Teams to address the ever evolving threat along the Texas-Mexico border. Additionally, under the governor's leadership and thanks to action taken by the Legislature, the state has dedicated more than $110 million to border security efforts in each of the last two legislative sessions.