Exclusive: Obama sends team to Texas to assess need for National Guard deployment

SAN FRANCISCO Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:17pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks before signing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act at the White House in Washington July 22, 2014. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks before signing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act at the White House in Washington July 22, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

Related Topics

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has sent a team to Texas to assess whether a U.S. National Guard deployment would help to handle an immigration crisis at the Mexican border, White House officials told Reuters on Wednesday, having so far resisted Republican calls for such a move.

The team, made up of officials from the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, departed on Tuesday and will be on the ground through Thursday.

The White House had previously resisted calls from Republicans to deploy the National Guard to fight the onslaught of migrants from Central America because most of the unaccompanied minors and others making the crossing were turning themselves in voluntarily.

But during a meeting with Texas Governor Rick Perry earlier this month, Obama said he was open to ordering the deployment as a temporary solution. He directed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to send the team of evaluators to assess the situation, one White House official said.

The officials said the federal team would study whether such a role would be useful and make recommendations upon its return.

"There's no foregone conclusion," another official said.

Perry, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, said on Monday he would deploy up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the state's border with Mexico to boost its security efforts in fighting illegal immigration.

Obama is currently on a fundraising swing in California. He returns to Washington on Thursday.

On Friday he is scheduled to meet with the leaders of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to discuss cooperation on the influx of child migrants, which has become both a humanitarian and political crisis for the Obama administration.

The meeting comes as the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border into the Rio Grande Valley in Texas has begun to drop off.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (26)
moonhill wrote:
surprise, surprise. Obama is on another (endless) fund raising trip.

Jul 23, 2014 5:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
KJackb wrote:
OMG! Boots on the ground – in TEXAS of all places?

Looks like Perry trumped obama and obama wants to lead from behind again. That means Perry is now in grave danger – sanctions coming!

Jul 23, 2014 5:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Blase wrote:
Obama is leading from behind Rick Perry.

Jul 23, 2014 5:20pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.