Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Wednesday night ordered a state law enforcement surge on the Texas-Mexico border, saying he could no longer afford to wait for Washington to act.
The governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate said the rise in the capture of unaccompanied illegal minors had overwhelmed state resources and that Mexican cartel networks for human and drug smuggling had put Texas lives at risk.
"The responsibility for securing the border rests exclusively on the federal government," wrote Perry, along with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.
"The Federal government's failure to secure the border has created an incentive for families to send their children on a dangerous, and sometimes fatal, journey," they continued in the letter, setting up a surge that mirrors a similar effort last year.
In total, the U.S. border patrol has captured 160,000 illegal immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley this year alone, Perry said.
Some 34,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended in the state this year, already more than to overall total in 2013, the governor said. That number is expected to reach 90,000 by the end of the year.
Wednesday night on CNN's "Crossfire", Perry said housing the influx of immigrants has begun to suck up resources meant for his citizens.
"With these children and these individuals that are being housed in federal facilities and in state facilities that are being used for this, we do not have the capacity to be able to take care of our citizens," he said.
He partly blamed the influx of children crossing the border on a misperception in other countries that unaccompanied minors will be allowed to stay in the United States, due to confusion about the administration's deferred action program.
"These young people being brought in the United States, and they are hearing the message of 'Come on up here, the border is open. You can come to America,' " he said.
The administration, however, has said the spike is due to violence in certain Latin American countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. More than half of all illegal immigrants arrested this year in Texas are from countries other than Mexico.
The administration has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate the effort to house the unaccompanied alien children.
"Until the federal government fulfills its duty, it falls on the state of Texas to address those obligations," Perry wrote in the letter.