President Obama’s response to the crisis on the southern border is “a naked political maneuver” because he “does not ever intend to secure the border,” Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, charged in an interview with The Daily Signal.
King, a vocal critic of what he calls Democrats’ plans to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants who already were here, said he is relying on Texas Gov. Rick Perry, not Obama, to work to shore up the state’s border with Mexico to stem the surge of children and others from Central American nations.
The Iowa Republican told The Daily Signal:
It makes me so sad [to see young children making the journey to the border]. Of course, they are humans, but we can’t be a relief valve for all of the poverty in the world. We have to restore the rule of law. But the president does not ever intend to secure the border. Rick Perry is the only person with the authority and means to secure the border.
King, in an interview after his appearance Thursday afternoon at the Eagle Forum Collegians’ annual leadership summit at The Heritage Foundation, called Obama’s request for $3.7 billion in emergency funding would not secure the border — although it does contain more funds for Border Patrol agents, immigration judges, and aerial surveillance, among other things.
The National Guard is the only force that could stop the surge of Central American children illegally entering Texas, King said, and Perry should use it and press Obama to do the same.
In comments Thursday to Fox News, the Republican governor suggested the security problem could be quelled by adding 1,000 Guard troops to the border.
During his trip to Texas this week, in which he met with Perry but did not make stops along the border, Obama said he’d consider deploying the Guard as a short-term fix. But he said that option would do little to solve the problem in the long run.
>>> Heritage Analysis: Throwing Money at Border Crisis Isn’t Solution
King, whom many liberals regard as embodying uncompromising resistance to what they call a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants, said he would not support any of Obama’s spending plan if House Speaker John Boehner brought it to a vote:
Read the request and you can conclude the president has no intent to secure the border. He’s just taunting by saying in his interviews yesterday, ‘I’m interested in securing the border and appropriating 3.7 billion.’ He wants this border to be open. I know that. He is the most leftist president we’ve ever had.
Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint reflected the think tank’s analysis of Obama’s spending request while speaking to young people yesterday on the second day of the Eagle Forum Collegians gathering.
“He is asking for this irresponsible amount of money that’s not going to change things so he can make it a battle between him and Congress,” said DeMint, a former Republican senator from South Carolina.
Boehner is among Republican lawmakers who say Obama’s plan should be amended to change a 2008 law, designed to fight human trafficking, that makes it easier to deport children from Mexico or Canada than from non-contiguous countries such as those in Central America.
At least two pending bills — one bipartisan and the other sponsored by Arizona Republicans — would amend the law and expedite the Central American children’s repatriation.
The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act requires unaccompanied children from Central America to be provided housing, united with relatives, and scheduled for a hearing in immigration court.
Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday that immigration agencies will begin to run out of money in mid-August without some infusion of funds from Congress.
But Johnson cautioned lawmakers against significantly changing the 2008 statute that President George W. Bush signed into law to protect children.
“[The law] reflects fundamental values and commitments of this country that we should continue to adhere to,” Johnson said.
The Obama administration increased its estimates of the child migrant crisis at the southwest border Thursday, predicting as many as 90,000 unaccompanied minors could be apprehended before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 — the highest such figure mentioned so far.
- Philip Wegmann contributed to this report.