The president will travel to Texas tomorrow to fundraise for Democrats. But, because of the humanitarian crisis and rising health care concerns, the timing of his trip is far from impeccable. For his part, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has sent numerous entreaties to the president in recent weeks urging him to see for himself the perilous situation on the border. He won’t. He did, however, invite Perry to greet him at the airport upon his arrival, an invitation the governor promptly rejected (via the WSJ):
“I appreciate the offer to greet you at Austin-Bergstrom Airport, but a quick handshake on the tarmac will not allow for a thoughtful discussion regarding the humanitarian and national security crises enveloping the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas,” Mr. Perry wrote in a letter to the president Monday. “I would instead offer to meet with you at any time during your visit to Texas for a substantive meeting to discuss this critical issue.”
Interestingly, the president seems to have granted his request -- although the details are still up in the air:
Aides to President Obama and frequent antagonist Texas Gov. Rick Perry are talking about a possible meeting on border problems when Obama visits the Lone Star State later this week.
As Perry said he wants "a substantive meeting" rather than a "quick handshake" at the airport, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett sent the governor a letter late Monday saying "the president would welcome a meeting with you" while he is in Texas on Wednesday and Thursday.
"In addition, he (Obama) asked me to invite you to join him for a meeting to discuss the situation on the border with faith leaders and local elected officials in Dallas on Wednesday," Jarrett wrote to Perry, a Republican.
This might seem like progress, but again, the president still refuses to visit the border, although perhaps for good reason. National Journal explains why the White House finds itself in a sort of “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” situation. Indeed, at least from a political standpoint, President Obama might even be better off just ignoring this crisis altogether:
If Obama goes, his presence there would give both liberal and conservative critics further ammunition as they argue Obama's policies are to blame for the influx. It might even make it more difficult for Obama to marshal public support for any executive actions he may soon take to reform current federal immigration rules. At the same time, being seen at a detention facility among children that face deportation could make him appear uncaring.
But not going makes the president look like he's avoiding something that is increasingly being called a crisis.
In the meantime, children are flooding over the US Southern border in record numbers, while both resources and personnel are being depleted, thus making it easier for drug traffickers to carry illicit substances across the border. Some of the "children" coming across the border, too, are certified thugs. In other words, this is a full-blown catastrophe -- and one that doesn’t appear to be getting resolved anytime soon, either.