Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday on “Hannity” that President Obama needs to act now to stop the surge in illegal immigrants flooding across his state’s border, calling it “a humanitarian crisis that he has the ability to stop.”
The Republican governor of Texas warned the president in a letter sent more than two years ago. Perry said the influx of unaccompanied children crossing the southern border, citing federal statistics, had shot up 90 percent.
“By failing to take immediate action to return these minors to their countries of origin and prevent and discourage others from coming here, the federal government is perpetuating the problem,” Perry wrote to Obama in May 2012. “Inaction encourages other minors to place themselves in extremely dangerous situations. . . .Every day of delay risks more lives. Every child allowed to remain encourages hundreds more to attempt the journey.”
While both sides called the meeting Wednesday “constructive,” Perry expressed concern that the president didn’t seem to believe he needed to take immediate action as commander-in-chief to stop the illegal border crossings that have now resulted in a full-fledged humanitarian crisis.
“You know, I was like, Mr. President, you can deal with this. You can unilaterally direct the Department of Defense to put those troops on the border…” he said, later adding, “The president needs to understand that the single most important thing that he can do is put the National Guard on the border to coordinate with local law enforcement, with state law enforcement, with the border patrol…”
President Obama said after the meeting Wednesday that sending the National Guard would be a temporary fix. However, critics say, including the Border Patrol union, that the president should act to at least stop the numbers from increasing. A Border Patrol union confirmed Monday that many of the illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. have “active scabies and other illnesses,” and that agents have already contracted the mite-borne skin infection. The union warned disease could spread into surrounding communities and others — like the community in Murrieta, California, which turned back busloads transporting illegal immigrants into the town.
Perry also criticized Obama for not visiting the border on his trip to Texas, while Obama said in a press conference Wednesday that doing so would be engaging in political “theater” and not productive. Even Democrats are joining in on the criticism, many of whom worry about the optics of blowing off the border for a beer with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper a day earlier before a fundraiser.
Whistling along to “Brown Eyed Girl”, Pres Obama shoots pool w Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in Denver pic.twitter.com/0An0Q43rjb
— petesouza (@petesouza) July 9, 2014
“I’m pretty sure that if George Bush had said ‘well I sent my FEMA director multiple times’ he still would have been criticized greatly,” Perry said. “Because you need to go. That’s what governors do, that’s what presidents do. When there are natural disasters, when there are crises like these, a president needs to be there to show the American people number one that he understands.”
Others have pointed out that the border crisis could not be compared to Hurricane Katrina, because unlike the border crisis, Katrina was not a created crisis.