People all across the Americas are going to be watching how poor women and children are treated when they reach the Texas border.
That’s particularly so now that Gov. Rick Perry ordered up to 1,000 members of the Texas National Guard to the border.
Maybe a response by a military organization was needed. But it’s hard to see how the commitment of 1,000 troops on a 1,254-mile border — one soldier for every mile and a quarter — is going to address Perry’s chief complaints: that the border is porous and that the federal Border Patrol is overrun.
One of the reasons this move by the governor appears to be just politics is that the National Guard was still making plans to try to get 1,000 troops to the border within a month. If this were a crisis involving public safety, military leaders wouldn’t be trying to figure out what, exactly, they’re supposed to do at this late date.
It was clear by the way National Guard commanders answered questions that they were not clear what they were supposed to do. This is a case where the soldiers need clear orders. The possibilities for mischief and tragedy are not hard to imagine.
The move also looks like politics because Perry has been considering a presidential bid and because the governor’s continued argument with the Obama administration has played well among some constituencies.
If a solution really were desired, there’s legislation in Congress. The Texas congressional delegation presumably isn’t helpless. If the state’s leaders really wanted a solution, rather than headlines, the place to get it is on the Potomac, rather than the Rio Grande.
Texans live in a much smaller world than they once did. We have trade partners everywhere in Central and South America. The relationships we have in those countries are important to our economic well-being. They are important to our security.
Everyone will be watching how poor women and children will be treated when they reach the border.