Perry can do this because under the Constitution, state governors are the commanders in chief of the guard, which is the modern equivalent of colonial militias.
Perry's action has the potential to change the political dynamics of the immigration reform debate but it depends upon whether it makes a discernible difference in the situation on the border.
Missing the point, as usual
As the New York Times predictably described it, Perry's move projects "a get-tough immigration message that foreshadows the approach to the current crisis by his party in Congress and that could position him in another bid for the Republican presidential nomination."
But casting the Perry decision as a self-serving political maneuver for him and Republicans likely misses the substance and significance of what the Texas governor has done to the immigration reform debate.
Instead of simply decrying Washington's political gridlock while allowing the situation on the ground to worsen, Perry actually did something concrete to secure the border, which is the essential prerequisite both for resolving the immediate crisis and for clearing the way politically to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.
First, secure the border
Politicians in both parties have played fast and loose with the truth while claiming to support that simple requirement — secure the border so we know who is coming into the country.
What Obama's inaction did as the flood swelled into the national consciousness was puncture the claim that the border is secure. Now it's obvious to everybody that the border is not secure despite the reassurances from two presidents.
Then along comes Perry to puncture Obama's hypocritical claim that he has to use his "pen and phone" to overcome obstacles thrown in his way by House Republicans.
You want action or politics?
Bill Murchison, a sage Texas political writer and former Dallas Morning News columnist, put it best: "Abroad, Putin will slither and the jihadists slaughter. A governor can do only so much. Perry has done as much as he could. But you know what? He did something."
In a nation that reveres getting things done, there is no worse public Image for a politician than to be seen as incapable of making decisions and acting, particularly in defense of the country.
Perry has thus thrown down the gauntlet to Obama: Do something to protect the country's borders or move over and let somebody else do the job.
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
Editorial: The grave price of Obama's "reset" with Russia.
Watchdog/Richard Pollock: House Financial Services Committee demands all documents on CFPB renovation costs.
Columnists/Sean Higgins: No setback is permanent for Obama on labor policy.
Columnists/Gene Healy: An exceptional America is more than just American exceptionalism.
Columnists/Cal Thomas: The best way to help Palestinians is to stop helping terrorists like Hamas.
Beltway Confidential/T. Becket Adams: Americans are unhappy with Obama's handling of foreign policy but don't want U.S. involved.
Beltway Confidential/Michael Barone: Hillary Clinton job approval ratings as low as Obama's.
PennAve/Susan Ferrechio: Congress faces gridlock on VA reform, border spending bills.
Legal Newsline/Bryan Cohen: Kansas AG files lawsuit against medical alert device makers.
Video/Morning Examiner: Morning Examiner by Steve Doty for July 22.
In other news
USA Today: Child poverty rate increasing.
The Los Angeles Times: Tony Dungy comment on Michael Sam drawing ire.
American Thinker: The coming ordeal of recovery from Obama era.
The American Conservative: How to reform American foreign policy.
The American Spectator: At last! Someone (Rick Perry) does something about the border crisis.
The Federalist: What should a "do something" Congress do?
The New Republic: Don't send your kid to the Ivy League.
The Washington Monthly: Why the white working-class still matters.
Mother Jones: Here's why Wall Street reform is still in limbo.
Talking Points Memo: Perry says U.S. should reimburse Texas for cost of troop deployment on the border.
The Raw Story: Schizophrenia has direct genetic ties.