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.
To view Gov. Perry’s letter to President Obama, please visit: