After initially turning down the White House’s invitation to meet President Obama upon his arrival at the state capital of Austin, Texas Governor Rick Perry met with Obama on July 9 in Dallas. Perry had described an Austin meeting, which would have been little more than a photo-op, as “a quick handshake on the tarmac.”
Instead, Perry said he preferred a “substantive meeting” with the president and would be willing to rearrange his schedule to discuss “the humanitarian and national security crises” on the Texas-Mexico border. The White House agreed, and the governor’s spokesman announced, “Governor Perry is pleased that President Obama has accepted his invitation to discuss the humanitarian and national security crises along our southern border.”
Among national political figures, Perry has been among the most vocal critics of the administration’s records on immigration enforcement. When asked by Martha Raddatz, the host of ABC’s This Week on July 5, “Do you really believe there’s some sort of conspiracy to get people into the United States by the federal government, by the Obama administration?” Perry’s reply was straightforward: “I have to believe that when you don’t respond in any way that you are either inept or you have some ulterior motive ... which you are functioning from.”
It was not the first time Perry had leveled such charges. During a June 17 interview on Fox & Friends, the governor said: “This president, I will suggest, is either totally and absolutely inept, or making some decisions that are not in the best interests of American citizens.”
During the July 5 interview, Perry also pointed out another threat stemming from our unprotected borders: “We also have a record high of other than Mexicans being apprehended at the border. These are people that are coming from states like Syria that have substantial connections back to terrorist regimes.”
Following his meeting with Perry, Obama held a press conference at Love Field in Dallas, during which he stated, “The issue is not that people are evading our enforcement officials. The issue is that we’re apprehending them in large numbers.” However, Obama neglected to mention that the reason the Border Patrol has apprehended such large numbers of illegal aliens is that many of them, having been told back in Central America that they would not be deported, actually seek out the Border Patrol so they can be processed and then sent on to their final destination!
Obama then plugged a July 8 letter he sent to Congress asking for $3.7 billion to address “the urgent humanitarian situation” caused by the illegal immigration surge, almost half of which is unrelated to border enforcement, but which would provide funding to house and otherwise care for the unaccompanied alien children and other “refugees.” The president offered this funding request as a challenge to Congress, stating: “Congress has the capacity to work with all parties concerned to directly address the situation. They’ve said they want to see a solution. The supplemental offers them the capacity to vote immediately to get it done.”
However, at least one member of Congress, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), was unafraid to describe the funding request accurately:
This supplemental bill is an admission by the president that he has no intention of solving this problem, and, indeed, that he anticipates it continuing indefinitely, because he is simply asking for money to deal with those kids who are coming after they’ve been brutalized, rather than taking the necessary steps to prevent them from coming here in the first place, to prevent them from being victimized.
Obama also called for the House to pass the “Gang of Eight”-brokered immigration reform bill already passed by the Senate, describing it as a “common-sense, bipartisan bill” and claiming that the Senate bill “would have put us in a stronger position to deal with this surge and, in fact, prevent it.”
But there are good reasons why the House has refused to follow the Senate’s lead in passing the “Gang of Eight” bill, and several members of Congress have pointed out its flaws, including Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
“It's hard to believe, but the Senate immigration bill is worse than we thought,” said Smith, in a statement quoted by CNS News on April 17, 2013. “Despite assurances, the border is not secured before almost everyone in the country illegally is given amnesty. The bill guarantees there will be a rush across the border to take advantage of massive amnesty.”
Obama claimed that he agreed with several areas of concern expressed by Perry, including the number of Border Patrol agents and how far from the border those agents should be positioned. The president then offered his supposed agreement with Perry as a rationale for granting him his $3.7-billion funding request:
I indicated to [Perry] that what he said sounded like it made sense and that, in fact, if we pass the supplemental we would then have the resources to carry out some of the very things that he’s requesting.
A look at the Obama administration policies in the area of immigration enforcement, however, indicates that the surge is not caused so much by a lack of funding as it is a lack of will to enforce the law. When our government does not swiftly apprehend and deport those crossing our borders immediately, the message sent to those back home is that our borders are open and a land of (illegal) opportunity awaits them.
Photo of Rick Perry and Barack Obama: AP Images