In a sharp criticism of Mexico's "failure" on immigration and crime policies, Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday invited President Enrique Pena Nieto to visit his state and observe law enforcement efforts on the U.S. side of the border.
Pena Nieto recently criticized Perry's highly-publicized deployment of National Guard troops to the border as "unpleasant" and "reprehensible."
Perry, mulling running for president in 2016, fired back Wednesday with a letter to Pena Nieto saying Mexico isn't doing enough to control immigration along its border with Central America or to control drug cartels.
"When it comes to the safety and security of Texans, I will not be dissuaded by rhetoric of any kind," Perry wrote. "Our challenges today are partly a consequence of the failure of the Mexican government to secure its southern border from illegal immigration by unaccompanied children and other individuals from Central America, or to deploy adequate resources to control the criminal element in Mexico."
The number of Central American immigrants entering Texas spiked earlier this year, but has slowed recently. Texas maintains it needs National Guard troops to help state and local law enforcement stop drug traffickers.
Texas is spending $1.3 million a week on additional state troopers and about $12 million a month on the guardsmen sent to the border area.
Perry's letter invited Pena Nieto to visit Texas "to see firsthand the professionalism of our National Guard soldiers and their law enforcement partners as they work to secure the border."
"Those obeying the law have nothing to fear from our increased law enforcement presence," Perry wrote.
The Mexico president's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.