Update: In a statement in Dallas following a roundtable discussion on the immigration crisis on the Southwest border, the President called on Congress to authorize some $3.8 billion in funds to address the situation there in the short term: "Congress has the capacity to work with all parties" to address the growing backlog of apprehended undocumented immigrants, he said, adding that Congress should also pass more meaningful immigration reform to prevent another crisis like this from happening in the first place.
"The issue is not that people are evading our enforcement officials. The issue is that we are apprehending them in large numbers," the President said, noting that the large volume of apprehended immigrants is leading to a backup in the immigration system. Exacerbating that problem are the large numbers of unaccompanied minors caught crossing the border illegally. The President added that the "parents [of unaccompanied, undocumented minors] need to know that this is an incredibly situation and it is unlikely that their children will be able to stay."
Obama described his Wednesday meeting with Republican Governor Rick Perry as "constructive," noting that the Texas politician was concerned with the volume and placement of border patrol agents. Obama also met with faith-based groups working to address the crisis, along with local elected officials. "If the Texas delegation is prepared to move," Obama said of his proposal to address the crisis, "we can get this thing done next week."
When asked by a reporter why he wasn't visiting the border during his Texas trip, Obama said he was already addressing the crisis through the aforementioned proposal on the table, and wasn't interested in a "photo op." "This isn't theater," he added.
Original post: Later this evening, President Obama will speak about the crisis at the Southwest border, following a roundtable meeting in Dallas on border issues. Rick Perry, governor of Texas, is among those participating in the meeting just after the President's Texas arrival, according to the White House pool reports. The remarks were scheduled for 6:45 p.m., and are due to begin any minute now.
As of Tuesday, the Obama administration was planning to ask Congress for $3.8 billion in funds to address the situation at the border, but did not plan on visiting the country's southern border in the state during his short fundraising trip. That, coupled with Perry's longtime criticism of Obama on a number of issues, including immigration, has made the lead-up to today's meeting rather tense. Perry has pointed to a 2012 letter he sent the President warning of just the sort of increase in unaccompanied minor immigrants seen today. Perry has also publicly spoken about his conspiracy theory that Obama is "in on" some sort of plan to engineer the crisis for political gain.
You can watch his statement live below:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.