- The Washington Times - Monday, July 14, 2014

Critics say Texas Gov. Rick Perry is trying to politicize the border crisis only to bolster a potential White House run in 2016. Yes, there could be some of that going on, but Mr. Perry also has a succinct reason for speaking out, loudly and often, about the surge of young illegal immigrants: The Lone Star State has already spent a half-billion dollars on the situation.

“This is a crisis created by failed federal policy and a lack of will to dedicate the resources necessary to secure the border once and for all,” he says. “This has been a problem for a long time. In Texas, we’ve spent more than $500 million since 2005 to supplement border protection, fighting transnational gangs and drug cartels conducting criminal activities in the border region.”

The governor expects more of the same. But he has a clear solution in mind. Mr. Perry wants President Obama to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border to augment the U.S. Border Patrol. He wants the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drone flights in the troubled region to track illegal drug and/or human trafficking.

He’s not alone in his concern about the border crisis. Last week Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, told Defense One, “Many argue these threats are not existential and do not challenge our national security. I disagree.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sides with the top officer, who is tasked with protecting the southern border of the U.S.

“He absolutely shares that concern,” said Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby.

“Ignoring the core problem will only cause more hardship,” reasons Mr. Perry.