AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - Texas Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis said on Tuesday she opposes her state’s plan to send National Guard troops to the border with Mexico, but agreed the U.S. government should reimburse the state for any costs associated with border security.
Republicans, led by Texas Governor Rick Perry who is the main advocate of the plan, have called on the White House to have the federal government pick up the $12 million a month tab for the National Guard deployment that expected to start this month.
Davis told reporters the $12 million could be better allocated by helping support local sheriffs and relief groups, and has backed U.S. federal help for localities in paying for extra costs associated with border security, including managing the surge of mostly Central American immigrants across the border.
“At the end of the day, it is the federal government’s responsibility to reimburse our costs as we proceed with caution and with care,” Davis said.
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $694 million border security bill that allocated money for sending the National Guard to the border. The White House, which has seen its $3.7 billion border funding request rejected by Congress, has threatened a veto.
Perry, a possible Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 election, has also asked Washington to pick up the tab.
Davis has called for a special session of the state legislature to allow local law enforcement and communities to discuss their needs as they address illegal immigration.
“What they did not ask for is $12 million a month be spent on a National Guard who doesn’t even have the authority to detain and arrest people on the border,” she said.
Perry has said the deployment was needed to curtail crime in the state and help the U.S. Border Patrol as it tries to manage a flood of children from Central America who are crossing a border that has not properly been secured.
Along with Davis, some cash-strapped border county sheriffs have criticized the deployment because the soldiers are not authorized to make arrests and will not be apprehending those who cross the border illegally.
State Senator Davis is running against Republican Greg Abbott, currently the state’s attorney general, for governor. Abbott, who has a strong lead in the polls, has backed the National Guard deployment.
Editing by Eric Walsh