Catholic Bishops Respond To Perry's Plan To Send 1,000 Guard Troops To Border | KERA News

Catholic Bishops Respond To Perry's Plan To Send 1,000 Guard Troops To Border

Jul 21, 2014

In Austin, Governor Rick Perry announced his plan to send a thousand members of the Texas National Guard to the border.   

“I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault, and little children from Central America are detained in squalor.”

Perry said the troops would help take the pressure off the Border Patrol.

“These additional resources will help combat the brutal Mexican drug cartels that are preying upon our communities and also will help to tear others, before they have a chance to harm our citizens and become criminal aliens within our borders.”

In North Texas, two Catholic bishops had questions for the Governor. Speaking to reporters at the Diocese of Dallas, Bishop Kevin J. Farrell says immigrant children who have crossed into the United States from Central America are refugees.

“The primary factor that drives these young people,” Farrell said. “The one thing that comes out all of the time is that they are running away from the tremendous violence, drug wars that go on in their own places.”

Farrell says it’s not a political issue, it’s a humanitarian issue.  

“Do we really think that 1000 troops are going to stop these children from trying to come in,” he said. “It’s a question I have. It doesn’t relate, in my opinion, to this problem, this question which we are addressing, which is the humanitarian of these un-accompanied minors and why they are here.”

Bishop Michael Olson from the Diocese of Fort Worth says Texans are so blessed that they can help.

“These are human beings, and vulnerable human beings,” Olson said. “If for no other reason than that, we should be able to respond. I visited a shelter last week. I visited at lunch time, so it’s like any cafeteria, and then a classroom, where they are learning the alphabet. And part of this is an education…so that they feel like kids.”

Some 2,000 immigrant children are headed to federal detention centers in Dallas County in the next few weeks.