At Least 50 Troops Relying On Food Bank After Gov. Perry Sent Them To Border Without Pay

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After Governor Rick Perry’s controversial move to send National Guard troops to the border, new broke that many were not paid and at least 50 were relying on a local food bank to eat.

It’s not the kind of news the Governor needs after a long two weeks that included 2 felony indictments and a mugshot, but his reckless policies and refusal of accountability is starting to catch up at warp speed.

The Governor has been out visiting early primary states as he flirts with the idea of another run at the White House, but back at home along the border his highly politicized and extremely costly moves are beginning to unravel any chance that he may have had.

At $17 million a month Perry has not even set an end date or rough estimate for how long the surge will last. Perry was able to make the decision unilaterally with some funds that were left to his discretion so it seems like paying the troops would have been a top priority.

The troops were deployed on August 11th but are not expected to be paid until September 5th. Food Bank RGV Executive Director Terri Drefke told Valley Central, “We were contacted that 50 troops that are in the Valley don’t have any money for food and gas and they need our assistance,”

State Rep. Oliveira said “It’s embarrassing that our troops have to stand in a food pantry line,” and blamed the state.

Many area business leaders and elected officials, including in law enforcement, thought sending troops to the border was a bad idea in the first place.

Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia said in a story by Public Radio International that “When you militarize this area, you are sending out a certain perception that this is a high crime area, when in fact it’s not.”

State Sen. Wendy Davis will be in the Valley on Saturday to help deliver food to the for the National Guard. She said in a statement:

“It’s disgraceful that the men and women of our National Guard deployed to protect our border are forced to go to food banks…Whether you agree that we need the National Guard or the additional deputy sheriffs that I have previously called for to secure the border, it is shameful that our troops would be sent to keep us safe without basic supplies like food.”

It was widely reported that the deployed troops would not be able to engage, detain or even question the immigration status of individuals they encountered along the border leaving many to question the purpose of the move altogether.

With these new reporters and the fact that the numbers of immigrants arriving at the border has slowed tremendously this now appears to be a huge debacle for the outgoing Governor. One that his opponents for the GOP nomination in 2016 won’t likely let him forget.

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte serves as the Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs and Military Installations Committee in the Texas Senate and she sent out a statement today saying that she was appalled by these revelations.

“The border must be secure; we are all working to ensure that happens. The Perry – Patrick deployment of the Guard has been nothing but a political ploy: there is no request from local leaders for this mission, no exit strategy, or even a plan to pay for it. Today, we learn that our men and women of the Guard have been forced to contact food banks to feed themselves because they haven’t been paid in weeks. This is unacceptable.Texans do not play politics with the service of our troops.”

Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

About Author

Joe Deshotel

Joe was born and raised in Beaumont, Tx, but live music and politics brought him to Austin. He has worked in and around government and elections for over a decade including for a member of US Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Mayor of Austin. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Travis County Democratic Party. He is most interested in transportation, energy and technology issues. He also likes Texas Hold'em and commuting on his electric skateboard. Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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