President Barack Obama will attend three fundraisers in Texas next week but will not travel to the border to see the crisis that many say he has exacerbated by not enforcing the country’s immigration laws and vowing to enact unilaterally more executive actions to ease deportations.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said at Thursday’s White House press briefing that Obama is scheduled to attend a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Dallas on Wednesday and two events for the Democratic National Committee in Austin on Wednesday and Thursday.
When pressed about Obama’s decision not to go to the border and the military bases and detention centers where illegal immigrant children are being warehoused, Earnest said Obama has all the information that he needs from his senior advisors.
“I defend that by describing to you that there are a whole range of senior officials in this administration over the course of the last three or four weeks who have spent a lot of time in the southwest border,” he said.
Earnest said that “senior officials” from FEMA and officials like Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Cecilia Munoz, the White House’s Domestic Policy Director, “in the last several weeks have spent a lot of time visiting the border to assess the conditions there.”
“The President has a very good sense of what’s happening on the border,” Earnest said. “He’s getting regular updates from his officials who have traveled to that region.”
Earnest said Obama wants “regular reports about what they’re seeing on the border and how resources that are being devoted to processing those who have appeared at the border are being used to effectively administrate justice” and is “well aware of that process and how it’s going.”
Texas Governor Rick Perry recently urged Obama to travel to the border. And at a House Homeland Security Committee Field Hearing at McAllen, Texas on Thursday, Perry also said Obama should use diplomacy to convince Mexico to secure its southern border with Guatemala — if Obama cared about the issue.
After Obama, by executive fiat, enacted his temporary amnesty program for some illegal immigrant children, the number of children crossing the border from Central America has increased. At least 50,000 have entered the country illegally since October of last year, and Perry said at least 160,000 more are expected to try next year. Obama’s critics — like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — have accused him of exploiting the illegal immigrant children to push his political agenda.