Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) on Wednesday said drug cartels and gangs involved in the violence along the border are engaging in terrorism.
United States officials should "stop calling these criminals nice names like cartels and gangs" and start calling them "what they really are: These are narcoterrorists,” he said, according to CBS News.
Perry, speaking to the Texas National Guard, praised its ability to help fight these groups.
Last month, Perry announced plans to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to help reinforce the border as immigrant children flow into the U.S.
The governor said 2,000 troops have actually signed up, CBS said, but it’s unclear how long their deployment will last.
Perry said the troops will be needed at the border until the federal government can provide more resources.
"This is to be put into place until the federal government can and will do its constitutional duty, which is to put its Border Patrol agents ... on the border until the people of this country and the people of Texas are satisfied that the border is secure," Perry said.
Perry’s comments come after lawmakers on Capitol Hill left for their August recess earlier this month without an agreement on legislation to address the crisis. At the time, he urged Congress not to recess until the border “job is completed.”
Since last October, more than 63,000 unaccompanied children from Central America have crossed into the U.S. illegally.