Democrats continue to pile on Obama for skipping the border
July 13th, 2014
06:19 PM ET
3 months ago

Democrats continue to pile on Obama for skipping the border

Washington (CNN) – Yet more Democrats are piling on President Barack Obama for skipping a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border during his recent trip to Texas.

"I wish he would have come to the border,' said U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a Texas Democrat on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley. "It would have sent an important message to the rest of the country about how seriously he takes this issue beyond the spending request he sent to Congress last week."

Obama's decision to skip the border comes as more and more unaccompanied immigrant minors are making their way in the United States, creating what both Democrats and Republicans have called a humanitarian crisis. Obama has requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding to help ease the burdens on federal officials and facilities, as well as to crack down on smugglers.

While in Texas, Obama pressed for Congress to give him the funds and met with Republican Gov. Rick Perry. But border state politicians continue to say Obama missed an opportunity to see the crisis first hand.

"I wish he would have come to my district of El Paso where we've seen thousands of family members," O'Rourke said. "I wanted him to meet the men and women of the border patrol, of [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement], of Annunciation House, a Catholic charity that's helping to take care of these families and reunite them."

"The President should have gone down there," Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois told CBS's Bob Schieffer.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest says Obama's focus has been on the issue, rather than on his image.

"The President's priority was on solving the problem," Earnest said. "The President's putting the policy solution first, even though he's been criticized over photo ops. That's leadership and that's what the President's been focused on."

And while Gutierrez said he would have liked Obama to make the trip, he made clear where he thinks the blame lies in the broader legislative battles over immigration reform.

"The administration has been trying to work with Congress to pass an immigration reform bill for over two years," Gutierrez said. "So it's been folks in Congress and specifically in the House of Representatives who have not moved forward on a bill that would have helped us prevent some of the things we're seeing on the border now."

Texas Democrat Rep. Joaquin Castro praised administration officials who have made the trip. While he didn't offer any additional details, Castro said not to count out a border visit from Obama in the future.

"The fact is, this was not the President's last opportunity to get to the border. I think you will see him go down there. I think it's important for him to get down there at some point, to let people know he personally is attending the situation," Castro told NBC's David Gregory. "[Homeland Security Secretary] Jeh Johnson has been down there five or six times. He's keeping the President apprised of everything."

–CNN's Leigh Ann Caldwell and Shannon Travis contributed to this report.


Filed under: Beto O'Rourke • Immigration • Joaquín Castro • Luis Gutierrez
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. king

    if obama had gone to the border, the repubs with their right winged radio lunatics along side fix news would have a field day spurting cospiracy theory up the ying yang. this was one of the best moves obama has made to show the country that he doesnt condone illegals in no shape nor form, and that cingress needs to pass comprehensive immigration so he can better secure the border, and get hundreds of billions fron the illegals that are here in this country

    July 13, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    Damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.
    No reason for him to go to the border at all.
    I did love the handshake and little pat on the back of the oops governor by our President.

    July 13, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    Job-train. Shame on these politicians to allow foreigners in here while USA citizens are unemployed. Job-train first.

    July 13, 2014 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. ZuluAlpha

    If he'd gone to teh border republicans, would have found something to rag about. Since he didn't go to the border democrats, have started regging about crap. He's a man without a country apparently. Regardless, there needs to be some kind of solution to this problem, but be aware that there are kids in volved. Let's try to be less heavy handed, and a little more thoughtful in the approach to the solution. For those wanting to get things done regardless of who gets hurt, be reminded that people who claim to be religious need to be more restrained than is apparent in these postings.

    July 13, 2014 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  5. Gary

    Gutierrez and O'Rourke. Thats a pretty big pile.

    July 13, 2014 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  6. SoniaInDC

    Obama doesn't "have time" to go to the border according to one of his senior aids. Really? He sure always had time to go on late night talk shows, do photo ops with prof. baseball players, nascar drivers and even little leaguers, but no time to go to the border and show some character and actually MAKE the time to see things and meet with our courageous border patrol. Nope, he just doesn't have the time folks.

    July 13, 2014 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  7. ja

    Petty democrats, they need to ride their petty counterparts, to get off their rear ends, what good would the president going to the border do, across the board the dems need to stand up for Obama Care, suddenly parties can get on board for same sex marriage, something missing, why don't the entire congress go to the border they aren't accomplishing anything in Washington,

    July 13, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  8. bill

    obamamess has sold us out-end of story. He apoligized to the muslims for us mistreating them??? bowed to one of them-but treats Israel like a dog so why would we expect obama to miss his round of golf or a fund raiser where they tell obamamess HOW GREAT HE IS. SAD SAD SAD

    July 13, 2014 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  9. ja

    The dems are full of it, they are allowing the republicans to dictate all, why don't all of congress go to the border

    July 13, 2014 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  10. Richard Right

    They've followed Obama for five years but they really, really want to be re-elected. I wonder how they will act after if they are re-elected. Yeah I know, straight down the party line.

    July 13, 2014 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  11. yomomma

    You say more Democrats are "piling on". It's not referred to as "piling on" when it is full deserved.

    July 13, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  12. Chris..E.al

    Why pile on 0bama ? He would have just give a lot of Hi fives to them ? Damn if you do dang if you dont . Vote this dem party out for your betterment come on . But they are wak ing up . weeee womp .

    July 13, 2014 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  13. Chipster

    I commend the President for refusing to cave to pressure to put on some unnecessary dog and pony show. He's criticized if he doesn't and he's criticized if he does. So, it best for him to do what he believes is necessary and not play the games that Congress plays while they do nothing about the situation.

    July 13, 2014 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    President Obama takes the issue very seriously – to the point that he knows the disruption a presidential visit would create by visiting the border at a time when efficiency and expediency are the top priority.

    And he also knows that if he'd gone, fox and the RWNJ echo chamber would have accused him of spending taxpayer money for a photo op.

    Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't: that's all the gop/tea bags have to offer our country.

    July 13, 2014 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  15. The REAL Truth...

    This POTUS is reamed if he does, and reamed if he doesn't.. the Dems have done an absolutely horrendous job of educating the masses on the real cause of this influx. If Obama had gone to the border, the GOP would have whined about it being another photo op. Now his won Party is whining about him not going... to what benefit?
    Both sides need to grow up and address the root cause of the problem.. the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008

    July 13, 2014 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  16. J.V.Hodgson

    Tell me all critics the answer to this question:
    What practical change or value would accrue, to change this dire problem of the president/US nation, standing on the banks of the Rio Grande, looking at kid immigrants in bad conditions here under a law he must respect... other than some photo op political rhetoric some southern democrats think they need..... but according to most media and some southern democrats don't want Obama because of his poor Public opinion poll ratings.... talk about hypocrisy, cynicism, political critique of no effective US voter benefit overall or to the " solution for these kids"
    What most Americans wants me thinks is they are not just let loose with a " request to attend" a hearing on validating refugee status, but held reasonably secure and comfortably until that determination is made + no option to disappear and not attend the validation of status hearing, if not a deportation order is mandatory.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    July 14, 2014 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  17. warthog6

    Of course he skipped the border. He doesn't care.

    July 14, 2014 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  18. monkeebizns

    I am sure that now that his fellow democrats and the majority of Americans are complaining about not going to the border- Obama will find the time on his way to the golf course to take a quick look or maybe he will like all other issues watch it on TV.

    July 14, 2014 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  19. Minnie Mouse

    Going to the border would show some leadership from our president but what's really needed from his leadership ASAP is to bring in the National Guards, and to be requesting at this time only funds to return the illegals back to place of origin. These are two common sense things I think congress and anyone else would agree on immediately.

    July 14, 2014 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  20. justanaverageguy

    This problem is simply not on Obama's legacy list. He's too busy trying to cut Social Security and Medicare, push for the job destroying TPP and launch repeated salvos at the Democrats to destroy their chances in November.

    July 14, 2014 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  21. Minnie Mouse

    Stopping the traffic flow of illegals is going to solve the problems and returning them all home to place of origin. The president visiting would show leadership but as a leader now, he needs to bring in the National Guards because it's necessary and only ask for the funds to return the illegals home first. Congress needs to get on the move and change the laws or otherwise this is going to be a never ending battle because everyone's going to keep moving into our country. America will be flooded with contagious diseases, not enough housing to place them all, inadequate sanitation, not enough food to feed them adequately, violence ect. in the end if we don't correct the problems now!

    July 14, 2014 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  22. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    Why don't you jelly spines go down there yourselves you worthless congress men AND woman, there's going to be ALOT of CANTORS in November from mostly the GOP and some dems!!!!!

    July 14, 2014 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    "I wish he would have come to the border,' said U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a Texas Democrat on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley. "It would have sent an important message to the rest of the country about how seriously he takes this issue beyond the spending request he sent to Congress last week."
    ------------------------------------
    Pres. Obama would have been criticized irregardless of whether or not he visited the border. Cornyn's conflicting statements prove that point beyond any doubt. Had Pres. Obama visited the border, I have no doubt that right wing media would have had a field day twisting the visit into the President "welcoming illegals" into America. No doubt.

    July 14, 2014 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  24. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Democrats continue to pile on Obama
    for skipping the border

    Ahhhhhhh... Ummmmm...
    Let "Me" be clear...

    "I" am KING
    "I" know best

    July 14, 2014 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  25. truindep

    Obama does not care about America, he used his voters as tools, he is ready to move on, he is planing an exit strategy from the WH move to NY and live happily ever after

    July 14, 2014 08:20 am at 8:20 am |