Texas Gov. Rick Perry will send 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border in the next month to combat criminals he says are exploiting the surge of children trying to cross into the U.S. illegally.
"Drug cartels, human traffickers and criminals are exploiting this tragedy for their own criminal opportunities," Perry said.
For months, Border Patrol agents have watched as gang members and other criminals, often under the age of 18, have immigrated illegally alongside the tens of thousands of innocent children also trying to get into the United States.
Author and Townhall.com writer Katie Pavlich said it's a tough situation for law enforcement.
"The Border Patrol station in Nogales, Arizona, has confirmed that at least 16 unaccompanied minors have admitted to being members of the very violent MS-13 El Salvadoran gang," Pavlich told CBN News. "And what that means is they're coming through, just as any other minors and they're getting processed."
The governor said the National Guard will act as a "force multiplier" to help deter criminal activity along the border.
But critics say he's simply posturing in anticipation of a possible presidential run in 2016 and that the Guard's impact will be limited since it can't make any arrests.
Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Gil Kerlikowske said last month "I don't see the National Guard being a particularly good help in this instance."
President George W. Bush sent 6,000 National Guard troops to the border in 2006 and President Barack Obama eventually extended that deployment while sending a second wave to four border states in 2010.
Gov. Perry is already spending $1.3 million a week to get extra help with border security from the Texas Dept. of Public Safety.
The deployment of National Guard troops will cost Texas approximately $12 million a month. Perry hopes that Washington will eventually foot the bill.