Southern Texas Using National Guard to Combat Drugs

Problems along the southern border of the United States is not fresh news to anyone. Issues such as drug trafficking and illegal immigration have plagued the border for years. Recent headlines have been awash with stories of mass crossings and escalating conditions. One of the newest attempts to secure the border involves the National Guard.

The Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, has ordered an Operation combining multiple agencies for the purposes of combating crime and enforcing the border. In addition to the many federal, state, and local agencies taking part in the push, 1000 members of the Guard are now arriving at the border to assist officers. At the cost of $17 million each month, the Guardsmen will not, due to jurisdictional issues, be able to perform arrests, but will instead provide support for the officers at the border, which many say are currently overwhelmed.

Other worry that the inclusion of military troops to the situation is both far too great in expense and a potentially dangerous escalation. Some of the areas the Guard is moving into have rates of violent crime far below the national average and opponents argue that the addition of military resources sends the wrong message and is out of proportion to the data. Proponents of the move, on the other hand, say that statistics on crime do not necessarily paint a clear picture of whether criminal elements exist in a community. Much of the criminal activity in these areas are not focused locally, but are instead designed as bases to facilitate the dispersal of drugs further into the Nation, and, as such, little is known about these bases until they are found.

Even many who believe these areas do possess clandestine pockets of the illegal drug trade still think that the addition of the Guard is likely not a solution, and will instead simply cause the traffickers to simply relocate before they can be found.