On Wednesday, President Barack Obama said there was no reason for him to visit the border to see firsthand the crisis that many believe he created by giving temporary amnesty to DREAMers in 2012 and vowing to ease deportations with executive actions.
Obama addressed the press after meeting with Texas Governor Rick Perry in North Texas, and Obama said there is “nothing that is taking place down there that I am not intimately aware of or briefed on.” Obama is in Texas to attend three fundraisers on Wednesday and Thursday for Democrats.
Obama said he was not interested in “theater” or “photo-ops” and continued to push comprehensive amnesty legislation in addition to urging Congress to pass his request for an additional $3.7 billion in funds to address the crisis.
He said it would be useful for his “Republican friends to rediscover the concept of negotiation and compromise” and emphasized that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has visited the border five times and will make a sixth visit this week.
Conservatives – like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) – have urged Obama to visit the border. Cruz even tweeted Obama two maps to let Obama know he could take detours from his fundraisers to go to border towns like Laredo or McAllen. Democrats like Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) have said that Obama seems like a president who does not care, playing pool instead of going to the border; Cuellar calls it “bad optics.” Even Obama’s most liberal allies have criticized him as well.
“It would have been nice for him to see and speak to some of these children and some of these mothers with children who’ve come – to find out firsthand why they’re coming,” Michelle Brane, director of migrant rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, told the Associated Press. “I think that would make a difference in how he sees this problem.”
Federal officials have said there have been 57,000 illegal immigrant children who have crossed the border since last year, and they estimate at least 150,000 more will try next year. The number of illegal immigrant children crossing the border drastically spiked after Obama unilaterally enacted his temporary amnesty program in 2012. Nearly all of the migrants who have been interviewed have said they made the trip to America believing that they would be allowed to stay in the country indefinitely if they made it across the border.