POLITICS

Gov. Perry fires back at Mexico's Peña Nieto over border troop deployment criticism

A border war of words has broken out between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto after the U.S. politician gave the go-ahead in July to deploy National Guard troops to the country’s southern border.

After Peña Nieto called Texas' decision to deploy the troops along the U.S.-Mexico border "not only unpleasant, but completely reprehensible," and said the move could affect diplomatic relations, Perry fired back by saying that Mexico’s “failure” to secure its own borders was the reason that so many undocumented children are streaming into the U.S. The troops are on the border to protect Texans, he said.

"Our challenges today are partly a consequence of the failure of the Mexican government to secure its southern border from illegal immigration by unaccompanied children and other individuals from Central America, or to deploy adequate resources to control the criminal element in Mexico," Perry said in a letter to the Mexican president, according to The Hill.

Perry invited Peña Nieto to visit Texas, saying that people obeying the law have nothing to fear and adding that the two leaders need to work together to address the issues of immigration and border security. The Texas governor, however, did not back down on the deployment of troops on the border — a move that he deems as "necessary."

"I will continue to act as necessary to uphold my constitutional obligations, and when it comes to the safety and security of Texans, I will not be dissuaded by rhetoric of any kind," he said.

In July Perry authorized up to 1,000 National Guard troops to head to the border, with the first deployments beginning last month.

The announcement of troops along the border came amid a national crisis over a surge of unaccompanied migrant children arriving in the U.S. from the Central American nations of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The flow of migrants has receded in the past few months, which some say is partly thanks to a crackdown by Mexican authorities of migrants using trains to get to the U.S. border.

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