July 8th, 2014
08:20 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama invites Perry to meeting on border crisis

Washington (CNN) – The political sparring over the border crisis intensified Tuesday as the White House released a letter accepting Texas Gov. Rick Perry's invitation to President Barack Obama for a meeting on the issue during his trip to Texas Wednesday.

The letter from White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett was in response to Perry's letter to the President, released Monday evening, that turned down an offer to greet Obama on the tarmac when he arrives in Austin, with the suggestion of a more “substantive meeting to discuss this critical issue.”

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Obama "asked me to invite you to join him for a meeting to discuss the situation on the border with faith leaders and local elected officials in Dallas on Wednesday,” Jarrett wrote in the letter.

According to a senior administration official, White House officials were in touch with aides to the Texas Governor late Monday in an effort to set up the meeting between the two leaders.

A few hours later the governor's office put out a statement saying that "Gov. Perry is pleased that President Obama has accepted his invitation to discuss the humanitarian and national security crises along our southern border, and he looks forward to meeting with the president tomorrow."

The same official said Obama had previously scheduled his own meeting with faith leaders and local elected officials in Dallas on Wednesday to discuss their plans to convert local schools into temporary housing facilities for some of the unaccompanied minors and other undocumented immigrants who have arrived at the U.S. southwestern border in recent months.

In Jarrett's letter, she also asked Perry for his help in convincing Republicans in Congress to approve the President's request for more than $2 billion in federal funds to add new border patrol agents and immigration judges in the Southwestern region, as well as expanded facilities to hold detained migrants. The president has also asked for expanded legal authority for the Department of Homeland Security to expedite the process of returning the children to their countries of origin.

“As you know, the administration continues to address this urgent humanitarian situation with a whole-of-government response on both sides of the border," Jarrett wrote in the letter. "This includes appropriate care for unaccompanied children, as well as aggressive steps to surge resources to the Southwest border to deter both adults and children from embarking on this dangerous journey, increasing capacity for enforcement and removal proceedings, and quick return of recent unlawful border crossers to their home countries after appropriate humanitarian screenings," she added.

Perry and other top Republican leaders have blasted the President's decision to forgo a trip to the border to eyeball the crisis firsthand.

Jarrett noted in her letter that several top administration officials have visited the region and will continue to do so in the coming weeks.

“DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has traveled to the border on five occasions over the last several weeks; a sixth visit to the region is planned for Friday.”

Even though the President will not stop at the border this week, a senior administration official did not rule out such a visit in the future.

Jarrett also touted the administration’s efforts to work with officials in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, where a stead flow of migrants heading north has overwhelmed facilities along the U.S. border.

“We are also working closely with out Mexican and Central American partners to address the root causes of this problem, stem the flow of migrants to the Unites States, and expand capacity to receive and reintegrate repatriated migrants.”

Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry have visited Central America in recent weeks to discourage potential migrants from making the dangerous trip.

At the end of her letter, Jarrett blamed Congressional inaction on comprehensive immigration reform for the current border crisis.

"The humanitarian situation at the border is but the latest example of the great cost of Congressional inaction," she wrote.


Filed under: Immigration • President Obama • Rick Perry
soundoff (158 Responses)
  1. The REAL Truth...

    Too bad that so many on the right are focused on this influx being due to Obama's Dream Act.. so wrong.. as it explicitly targets children here BEFORE 2007... but nice try Republicans.. the REAL Truth is that the is due to Bush's signing of a 2008 law called " William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008"..

    The legislation, enacted quietly during the transition to the Obama administration, is at the root of the potentially calamitous flow of unaccompanied minors to the nation’s southern border. Originally pushed by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers as well as by evangelical groups to combat sex trafficking, the bill gave substantial new protections to children entering the country alone who were not from Mexico or Canada by prohibiting them from being quickly sent back to their country of origin. Instead, it required that they be given an opportunity to appear at an immigration hearing and consult with an advocate, and it recommended that they have access to counsel. It also required that they be turned over to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the agency was directed to place the minor “in the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child” and to explore reuniting those children with family members.

    This law is why these folks are being bussed to locations all over the US... this one we can definitely hang on Dubya!

    July 8, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  2. Judge Judy

    This President flunked.....EVERYTHING!

    July 8, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. rs


    "In Jarrett's letter, she also asked Perry for his help in convincing Republicans in Congress to approve the President's request for more than $2 billion in federal funds to add new border patrol agents and immigration judges in the Southwestern region, as well as expanded facilities to hold detained migrants."
    The ONLY money that should be allocated is for planes to fly these invaders directly back to their home countries. Obama says he can't do this because of the law signed in 2008 that requires hearings, etc for other than Mexicans. If he can disregard other laws, as he does, than he can disregard this one.
    Great handle!
    Unfortunately, you can't go both ways on this one. The President hasn't violated any laws (and we know this because the Right-wing nuts would have long ago filed for impeachment), and there is that little uncomfortable truth that Mr. Obama has deported more people than any other President- especially Mr. Bush. So, you can't now turn your boat around and demand that this President ignore a law passed by the last one.
    Besides- the Right loves the little children (shoot they love unfertilized eggs and zygotes)- these are real-live human beings with real-live problems that they should be offering to help. Not filibustering monies for the IRS over. Not turning down a meeting with the President (if you are Mr. Perry) to come to a solution.

    The GOP so badly WANTS this issue, and they are working SO HARD to make it worse! They think it gives them a tool for the next election. Poor slobs.

    July 8, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. ivan

    Great that is all we need is an easy way for illegals to get to the US.
    And more US taxpayer dollars spent to keep them here or send them back.

    My parents came here legally after 15 years of trying, they finally got here using the legal process.
    My mom already had 2 brothers that were here and were citizens and still they used the legal process.
    We have been US citizens since 1968 and been paying taxes.

    These folks now just get a free ride and get to go stay with family on the ”promise” that they we come back to court for hearing.
    What a joke. Does anyone seriously think that they will actually show up.

    This needs to be done via the legal immigrant process like all others before them.

    July 8, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. Martika

    I think I should say a 'possible' solution to the emigration issue is to give our MADE IN CHINA jobs to our America's neighbor's in the South, then, we help to put a stop on a communist China ownership of America, and place our eggs in the neighbor's basket. If those MADE IN AMERICA jobs are at least placed 'closer' to US(USA); we will reduce a lot of problems, including illegal emigration, will be helping to close the gap with our hemisphere neighbors, it will help the USA economy grow, because it will reduce shipping and transportation costs, and will help America overall, looking to solve the humanitarian crisis in those countries. I am smart or what?

    July 8, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. MICK

    The illegal aliens will take mostly the service and construction jobs - This will hurt african american employment even more. Funny most people just don't care about actual Americans.

    July 8, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  7. SimplyPut

    Obama has no intention of securing the border. Everything is happening just as he wants: Americans are vehemently divided over the issue and the massive influx of illegal immigrants (who Obama has no intention of deporting) will change the demographics and the political structure of the US. So what if these new immigrants have TB, Scabies and the Swine Flu? Spread the diseases to the rest of America and hope more Americans fall ill and die, which will only hasten the demographic and political shift. Right, Obama?

    July 8, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. Long

    Its been going on for so long does it really matter. Obama has some underlying reason as why he is not supporting our laws but we knew he was in over his head and a complete shill for the left wing fanatics when he was elected. Illegals have been in this country for generations and nothing at this point looks like its going to change. There are a lot of large cities like Atlanta that could use the work ethic and quality workmanship of our friends from the south. Construction and service levels would improve dramatically and costs would go down.

    July 8, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. InstantBackGroundSniper

    A country without borders, is not a country at all, PERIOD!
    Obama is handling this situation, just like he handled everything, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"!
    Let's face it, when you cannot handle any crisis with leadership & confidence and elect others to do it for you, you display weakness.

    July 8, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. ireuel

    Tom; We are not taking care of the Citizen children we already have here. We are not taking care of the Citizen veterans we already have here. We already have the highest percentage of people on government assistance in history. We already have the lowest percentage of eligible working age people not working. I am not from the right or left, but they have passed plans for immigration from the right, you just have not read them obviously. Then President Obama says the right has no plan. False. Then President Obama makes a speech about "Skilled Workers" and immigration reform. Please find me one picture of the 200,000 that have crossed to border since April that is a "Skilled worker". The Democrats only want it their way or no way also. They also only want it to boost their voter numbers. Fine, what you end up with is more voters and more people on public assistance. Great plan there, Tom. The law is clear and they all have broken the law to be here. The medical ramifications alone should be disturbing to all. They have overwhelmed us and we just need to stop the madness now before someone comes over the border with some illness that really could hurt us all. Your generic statement have no value, the fact of cost, illnesses, and it is illegal to cross the border of any sovereignty country on this earth, including entering Mexico is LAW. SO either state facts or talking points. I prefer the reality of the situation not Democratic or Republican Talking points. Have a nice day, hope you don't get sick> 🙂

    July 8, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. babsie

    Just had to see what that old rascal, Ricky the P. is up to these days. He never fails to entertain me.

    July 8, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. S Town

    Gov. Rick Perry has every right to be upset with the federal government. The president could send troops to the border and could have done so a long time ago. For some reason he seems oblivious to the dangers of health, money taken from the taxpayers, and terrorist issues. This is not a republican or democrat fault. If the borders were secured, the problem of immigration could be faced. The taxpayers cannot sustain the influx into this country. And yet, the president has the guts to ask Congress for more. Does he not realize how much we owe China right now? Your station is doing a better job of showing both sides of issues. Please keep progressing. Many of your shows seem to show only the president's side which isn't always the way the public sees it.

    July 8, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. afvet

    Incredible. One of the FEW delineated responsibilities of the Federal Government is the security of our borders from invasion. In the 80s, Reagan and the Democrats agreed to amnesty AND securing the border. The Democrats then refused to provide the funding for it. Reagan said he regretted signing the bill.
    And now, we have a president who doesn't even go through the motions of having a law – he just brings them in. In January, they were contracting for transportation of 50-60,000 UAC (Unaccompanied Children) for millions – the breakdown was 25% local, 25% within a hundred miles and 50% for air transport. There are now illegal children throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arizona (remember Governor Brewer was the first to publicly complain), Oklahoma and California. Where do they intend to FLY these children to? And they're not infants and under ten, a majority are teenagers.
    Our borders are NOT secure. The Federal Government, every single politician who doesn't press for securing the border is derelict in his/her duty.

    July 8, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. ELMO

    We need one new Federal law to fix the immigration issue. Make it a felony to provide housing or a job to illegal immigrants. Enforce it and the problem will be solved.

    July 8, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  15. carol baltzell

    @Tom Paine. I agree, the only thing the GOPERS want to do is to complain. Why don't they get back to Washington and come up with a plan. If deportation immediately is what the GOP wants then go back to Congress and write a bill that states that.

    July 8, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. The REAL Truth...

    @InstantBackGroundSniper, @ireuel, @S Town, @afvet...
    Read my post above... learn something... learn that the POTUS can't just send troops to the border, and the Nat'l Guard is State controlled and won't be deployed by the red border state Governors.. This is an election year.. so the mud slinging continues.

    July 8, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. Wade

    Total pup stunt. Obama never listens to anyone.

    July 8, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Martika

    I mean, I know is a big concern problem, but in the meantime, terrorists are sneaking based on their countries situations, from our northern neighbors, aka, Canada border, without any alarm or concern, providing them even with political asylum, like what happened with the Boston bombers. Is it me, or just because they are kind of lighter up north? Because they speak English? Or both? Please know your history, this had happened before, with the Cuban children camps in Florida, now a days, most Cuban emigrants descents that came in the 50's speak both fluently, and are hard worker contributors to the USA economy, I'm just saying, instead of inviting them here, lets move the jobs that had been sent to China to those countries, it could help to put a stop to a lot of problems!

    July 8, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. Rudy NYC


    Lets see if some sort of progress can be made on the border issue. IMO, its way past the time to build a wall and dispatch the National Guard to the border. You gotta plug the hole first on a sinking ship.
    [Sarcasm On]
    You know, that's a really good idea. Let's take a couple of years to build a wall without any funding while we keep complaining about the ongoing humanitarian existing crisis. It's brilliant, I tell you. Absolutely brilliant.
    [Sarcasm Off]

    July 8, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  20. Rudy NYC


    Incredible. One of the FEW delineated responsibilities of the Federal Government is the security of our borders from invasion. In the 80s, Reagan and the Democrats agreed to amnesty AND securing the border. The Democrats then refused to provide the funding for it. Reagan said he regretted signing the bill.
    What's incredible are the historical rewrites that come out of the right wing. The last thing that Democrats wanted was an influx of cheap labor to undermine the unions. Reagan and Tip worked a deal where Reagan would raise taxes, which was the last thing he wanted, in exchange for the immigration part, which was the last thing that the Democrats wanted. As far as Reagan may have said that he regretted signing the bill, he was more likely talking about the tax increase than anything else.

    July 8, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  21. Anonymous

    This is definitely President Obama's "Katrina." What would the world be saying if all these people were poor blacks? What would Al Sharpton be saying against the president if this were the case? Where's George Clooney and Angelina Jollie? Do they only care about poor children over sea's? USA is seeing the third world problems ooz into the boarder states. These children are malnourished, have NO vaccinations, NO pediatric care and NO education of any kind. Enforcing the boarder security law (national guard activation) is the beginning to ANY meaningful boarder security. If thousands of ISIS militant teens were crossing the boarder would everyone still argue about NOT enforcing the boarder? So much hot air. Boarder's exist for a reason, if it doesn't matter then just let everyone in, if it does matter than SECURE THE BOARDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 8, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. Dave

    I like (or laugh at) the SPIN of the title of the article. Obama did not invite Perry to discuss board issues. Obama asked Perry to a photo op hand shake at the airport runway. Perry replied with an...unless you will take time to discuss boarder issues (as requested in 2010, and 2012 by Perry), I don't have time to just meet you for a photo op... We have a problem here that needs addressing at a federal level. If you will take time to discuss this pressing issue, then there is a reason to meet....

    July 8, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. Rudy NYC


    Maybe the money spent in the Central America countries on TV ads would be more wisely spent on RADIO messages, or do all those poor people have TV's in their houses.
    You're making a series of false assumptions. I think a better question would be whether or not they have electricity. And if they did, do they live in an area that had radio or TV reception. Don't assume that rural areas enjoy the same luxuries that rural areas in the U.S. might have.

    Furthermore, with many of these people are reported to be coming from rural areas, we could be facing an entirely new set of problems down the road. Racial animosity and bigotry between people coming from different areas of those countries. Don't assume that they are all of one mind and one culture, either. They are far from it. Bear witness to the violence that they are fleeing. THINK for change.

    July 8, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  24. Bigd

    Obama has gone to congress 7 times asking for money to secure the border and the republicans have blocked it everytime. Just more of the same from the Republicans, Do anything and everything against the POTUS with no care about how bad it hurts the Country

    July 8, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. Nate

    I find it rather odd that the immigration story is buried on CNN's site.

    ...but if I wanted to know what America's favorite river is, or how Joan Rivers 'stormed off' during an interview, both of those are front page news. Lol

    July 8, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
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