Texas Governor Rick Perry challenged President Barack Obama to convince Mexico to secure its southern border with Guatemala — if Obama actually cares about the “deluge” of illegal immigrants flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border.
At a Thursday House Homeland Security Committee Field Hearing in McAllen Texas, Perry said Obama could use “leverages” and “personal relationships” to pressure Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto so that illegal immigrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador do not freely roam through Mexico en route to the United States.
Saying that the country needed both “a carrot and a stick” in dealing with Mexico, Perry said that he hasn’t publicly “seen the outreach that we have seen in past administrations” with Mexico, though he admitted he did not know what was going on behind the scenes.
“You cannot allow that many young people to cross your country on the back of trains and in buses and not know about it,” Perry said. “A [U.S.] Marine can go to Tijuana and be apprehended, yet thousands of young people are crossing the [U.S.-Mexico border]. There’s some disconnect there.”
Obama, in a phone call last month, told Peña Nieto that illegal immigrants who come to America will not get amnesty, but Perry said there also has to be a diplomatic solution with Mexico to resolve the border crisis where “they secure their Southern border.”
Perry said there could be more done diplomatically “if we really cared about it.”
Over 50,000 illegal immigrant children have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border since October of last year, and Perry estimated that nearly 160,000 more would attempt to do so next year. Critics of the Obama administration like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have accused Obama of exploiting the illegal immigrant children to push his political agenda.