July 6th, 2014
12:54 PM ET
6 years ago

Border-state Democrat: Obama 'one step behind' on immigration

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration is facing fresh criticism for its handling of the immigration crisis from two voices at the center of the debate.

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, and Mayor Alan Long of Murrieta, California - the small town that rose up in protest after federal officials bused illegal immigrants to a facility there - both criticized the administration for failing to fix a broken system and address what they called a foreseeable problem.

"With all due respect to the administration, they're one step behind. They should have seen this coming a long time ago," Cuellar, a red-state Democrat, told CNN's Candy Crowley on "State of the Union." His district sits right beside the U.S.-Mexican border in southern Texas.

"This is a national problem, and the world showed up on our doorsteps. We didn't have a lot of answers early on, and there were some legitimate concerns, health concerns and humane concerns," Long told Crowley on CNN, adding, "Those were questions that we just didn't get any answers to."

Crowds of angry protesters, both pro- and anti-immigration, flooded Long's town last week. What started as a concern of local residents became the latest flashpoint in a national debate, according to Long, who emphasized that Murrieta is "a caring, compassionate community. I can't speak for the rest of the world that showed up at our doorsteps."

"Our plan this entire time was to make sure we provided the safety for everyone, protesters on both sides and anyone who comes through the city of Murrieta. And that plan still is in place," he said, asserting that it was the Border Patrol who decided to redirect the buses of illegal immigrants to a San Diego facility.

Earlier in the week, Long blamed the immigration crisis on "a failure to enforce federal law at the federal level."

But Cuellar was quick to point to problems south of the border as well.

Beyond poverty and violence, he said, drug cartels have organized human trafficking rings that make millions by charging around $5,000 per person to get across the border.

"It's a big-money situation," he argued. "The organizations are trying to flood the zones and come in." He estimated that traffickers have made $240 million on the 48,000 immigrants that have crossed the border illegally.

Even if the problems are down south, the solution is here at home, according to Cuellar.

"We're hoping that we can get that money, so we can provide more detention spaces, more flights," to return illegal immigrants to their country of origin, he said, referring to the $2 billion President Obama has requested from Congress.

It will also require legislation. Cuellar pointed to a "2008 human trafficking law that needs to be changed" because it "is an incentive that, if you bring a child over here or your child by themselves, you're going to be let go."

The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 added protections for unaccompanied minors who entered into the U.S. illegally.

"The system that is in place right now lures these people into thinking they're coming to a better place," agreed Long. "We have to fix that."


Filed under: Immigration
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    does anyone wonder that the law states minors must be turned over in 72 hours to whoever to have due process. now it's funny they must enforce this law but none of the rest. americans aren't stupid. then bus them to communitys like yours . and let them loose to take your job for half your pay and get any taxpayer benefits and turn your community into a Hispanic cesspool. and broke. free school no documents required. this is a planned invasion by the corporate elites who want cheap labor and force it down our throats like obamacare. these payed off politicans only care about their own enrichment. they won't deport anyone except a few criminals to make like they followed the law.

    July 6, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  2. david9444

    they only enforce this child law.

    July 6, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. david9444

    they are busing illegals right now all over to communities like yours whether you like it or not. they will take your job for half your pay. and take any welfare benefits you have turn your city into a third world cesspool. then protest when you object.

    July 6, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  4. Leezah Lee

    "They should have seen this coming a long time ago" Wow, naive much? They PLANNED it. Of course they saw it coming.

    July 6, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. Bobloblaw

    A few democrats actually love their country.

    July 6, 2014 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. warthog6

    We should just dismantle border control altogether and re-assign all officers to conduct mass media campaigns all across Mexico, Central, and South America welcoming mothers to just mail us their children right after they're just old enough to be indoctrinated against birth control, and then prioritize them in decreasing order of contagious, incurable, and preferably sexual medical conditions.

    Phase 2 will be deploying the Navy to Africa and putting our veterans to work in mass relocation campaigns for all Ebola patients and HIV positive orphans with secondary TB, to be interred in our public schools, and then mobilized into a mass child-corps to deliver meals to our elderly.

    July 6, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  7. John in Brooklyn

    Wow! The Tea Party is actually penetrating even DEMOCRATS with their lies. This administration has devoted more resources to the border and deported more undocumented immigrants than any Republican since WWII. The Tea Party has tireless chanted xenophobia and racism to the extent that people are actually beginning to believe their lies...sadly even Democrats.

    July 6, 2014 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  8. Hector Slagg

    nintex,
    The American people can't wait to send Obama to the Trash Heap of History. Your neck of the woods?

    July 6, 2014 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  9. Cam

    Cut all entitlements by 25% across the board in order to support refugees; this will cure democrats from advocating for open borders.

    July 6, 2014 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  10. neutral observer

    "Deport, cut all types of visas. First give priority to American citizens, green card guys. Freeze immigration."
    Gurgyl, you best be careful what you say, lest your lib card gets yanked.

    July 6, 2014 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  11. sonnie3

    Our President can't even and won't even try to secure our Boarder. It is the law and right of a Sovereign Nation. Our President is a big failure and is not doing his job well at all. We don't hate him as he is just over his head and we feel sorry for America and it Citizens. Time for Some Change and Hope it comes before it is to late.

    July 6, 2014 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  12. sonnie3

    We need to deport the illegals very fast. And then secure our boarders. Time to stop the entitlements give aways for democRATS votes.

    July 6, 2014 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  13. Mary

    I've been saying this, not all Democrats have an inferiority complex and make poor the tools of their salvation. This was bound to happen. In a country that is increasingly becoming white collared having these poor people who will be nothing but a burden is not such a great idea!

    July 6, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  14. anthony

    Dont blame on the congress just blame on the president. He is the boss of the country and do nothing. The 3rd countries no misunderstanding the congress but they do with president. This wk the president come to texas to do fundraising but no plan to go to the border town to look at the situation. No wonder why he is clueless

    July 6, 2014 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  15. Horatio Hornblower

    Asia for the Asians
    Africa for the Africans
    White Countries for Everyone
    Diversity is a codeword for White Genocide

    July 6, 2014 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  16. Ranjit

    King,

    Your president has no problem signing executive orders without the help of congress. But when it comes to illegal aliens, you want congress to pass a bill ? I am sure it is nothing to do with vote bank right? Give me a break !! we don't have time to debate this law. Sign executive order and you will be surprised to see that, the president might unite democrats and republicans on atleast one issue !

    July 6, 2014 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  17. barky

    He should take bigger steps. Maybe then he could keep up.

    July 6, 2014 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  18. georgeD

    We have gangs here too and many a mother crying herself to sleep at night because of the fear and terror right outside her door. Her child threatened daily. Gunshots in the streets. Violence, murder rapes. We have gang bangers doing horrible things to young children HERE in America. And how come that's not being fixed first before we add 60,000 aliens to the mix? It's a b.s. and it's was a planned out scheme by the Obama Admin. Hey Barak, there are children in America in inner cities being terrorized by gangs here too, what are you doing about it? Can you find a place for them to be safe and protected too? Maybe pay their airfare to get the heck out of inner city Chicago and settle down somewhere else? Heck even a bus trip out of town I'll be would be appreciated by your own flippin American youth living in hell and gang infested streets. Nice one Barak. You are truly a traitor.

    July 6, 2014 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  19. davidfarrar

    "With all due respect to the administration, they're one step behind. They should have seen this coming a long time ago."...Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas.

    With all due respect to Rep. Cuellar, Obama isn't one step behind, but two steps ahead. Obama did see this coming over 8 months age and put out this request for escort services:

    Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children
    Solicitation Number: BERKS-RFI
    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Office: Immigration & Customs Enforcement
    Location: ICE-OAQ-DM

    This was a planned invasion from the very beginning by the Community Organizer in chief, Barack Obama. The American people are being played for suckers.

    ex animo
    davidfarrar

    July 6, 2014 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  20. Sip That Kool Aid, It's All You're Good For.

    Just one? How can this be? He's kept abreast of the situation on a daily if not hourly basis. Could it be he's being set up by his own network of advisors?

    July 6, 2014 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  21. REALITY

    Sounds like alot of Dems have gone off their Govt sponsered Medications... If after five and a half years you actually agree with what this President has, or hasnt, done regarding any & all issues – Prepare to ride this Train Wreck to the end of the line...

    July 7, 2014 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  22. Thomas

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry repeated an accusation that undocumented children coming to the U.S. from Latin American countries might be a result of “ulterior motives” from President Obama.

    It's Official , Rick Perry is a Moron who is running for president . Perry makes GW Bush look like a supper genius

    July 7, 2014 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  23. Margie

    If this government threatened to stop all aid and assistance to all foreign countries where these illegals come from, no one would be crossing the border.

    July 7, 2014 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  24. Thomas

    Why is it Boats loaded with North Africans heading to Europe , Boats of East Asians turned back from Australia , and bus lodes of children from central America fleeing to America not recognized as a much larger international problem .

    Building more prisons , or in a sense turning our country into a protected prison will not stop the overpopulation and economic disparity caused by corruption and religious ignorance that fuels such migration .

    This is what happens when the UN has been marginalized .

    It's easier to blame Obama then it is to see the big picture .

    July 7, 2014 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  25. We'reAlmostCyprus

    "With all due respect to the administration". Now, THAT'S funny!!!!! ROTFLMFAO!!!

    July 7, 2014 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
1 2 3