A Rio Grande Valley lawmaker is speaking out to question the deployment of National Guard troops being sent to the border amid the ongoing immigration crisis.
The guardsmen will soon join state troopers who already have been deployed to the Valley.
It TMs all part of a plan by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to increase border security amid a dramatic influx of Central American women and children.
Texas State Rep. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg) said he believes that the National Guard is not the appropriate agency to send.
Ostensibly, what you have is a paper tiger, Canales said about the National Guard. They look scary but they can't do anything."
Canales said deploying both the National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) state troopers will cost taxpayers about $20 million dollars per month.
The Edinburg lawmaker said that money will come from next year TMs budget.
"What we're doing is we're taking from money that was allotted for other things, Canales said. My fear is that we're going to short change a lot of state programs until we appropriate those monies."
With state troopers already out on the streets and staying at local hotels such as the Palm Aire in Weslaco, Canales said the money to add the National Guard could come at the expense of healthcare and other programs.
Canales said he would oppose those cuts.
I don TMt believe it TMs the proper expenditure, Canales said about the National Guard. I believe it TMs actually squandering our tax dollars for a show of force that actually can TMt do anything.
The Edinburg lawmaker said instead of deploying the National Guard, the funding should go to DPS or local law enforcement agencies.
"There TMs a lot of conservative people who believe this is the right thing to do but I think when you look at the practicality of how it TMs actually transpiring and what the National Guard can do for us, our money is better spend with local law enforcement and/or DPS, Canales said.
The Edinburg Democrat believes that deploying the national guard is more about politics than protection, a stepping stone for some to seek higher office.
Canales has filed several public information requests to learn exactly how many state troopers and guardsmen will be in the Valley, where they are staying and how much everything will cost taxpayers.
He will also be asking for statistics for arrests, detentions and seizures that they make.
"They don TMt say it but they want to militarize the border, but I am steadfast against the militarization of where I live", Canales said.