A new organization of south Texas landowners has been formed to support the deployment of the Texas National Guard along the Rio Grande, and trying to counter the claims of border county sheriffs who say the deployment of the troops is not necessary.
Susan Kibbe, who heads the South Texas Property Rights Association, says the National Guard is along the border to help, and local law enforcement agencies should appreciate that.
"Let’s be partners here and lets face the reality that is, and not try to sweep it under the rug," she said.
Several border area law enforcement agencies and city officials have blasted Gov. Rick Perry for deploying the Guard to the Rio Grande Valley, pointing out that the Valley's crime rates are among the lowest in the state, and saying that, since Guardsmen can't make arrests or enforce civil laws under 'Posse Comitatus' laws, they are simply there to be 'observers and paper shufflers.' One law enforcement official called the Guard, and its $14 million a month price tag, 'the county's most expensive mall cop.'
But Kibbe says the Guard will not primarily be stationed in the cities and towns along the Rio Grande, but will take up positions inland. She says that is where the problems are. She says the drug traffickers are using routes that cut through private property.
"Just having a National Guard presence says, hey, we care about this area, we want to keep you safe," she said.
And Kibbe also rejected the concerns of business groups that what they call the increased 'militarization' of the border will drive away customers, especially people who flock over the bridges from Mexico to the U.S.
"Instead of making the National Guard the scary boogeyman, I think it would serve businesses well to know that they are well protected," she said.