Guests on Sunday’s political talk shows focused squarely on the continuing crisis at the border, where thousands of unaccompanied young illegal immigrants are over-crowding holding facilities and being met by protestors fed up with Washington’s inaction.
Republicans have been quick to place the blame for the immigration crisis on President Barack Obama– but on Sunday a Texas Democrat criticized Obama for the influx of immigrants which is taking a heavy toll on his home State.
“Keep in mind, this is not a Mexican problem. It’s a Central American problem,” said Representative Henry Cuellar on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It’s not the first time we’ve seen a surge and we should have been ready for this surge. The Administration should have been ready … with all due respect to the Administration they’re one step behind. They should have seen this coming a long time ago, they should have seen this a long time ago because we saw those numbers increasing.”
Cueller said that Obama’s pro-immigration rhetoric, combined with a 2008 human trafficking law that increased incentive to send unaccompanied children to the border, are to blame for the current crisis. The Texas Democrat said that funds proposed by the Administration would be helpful in alleviating the problem but that the trafficking law must also be changed because it helps Mexican cartels make up to $5,000 per person shuffled across the border.
Meanwhile on ABC’s “This Week”, Texas’s Republican Governor Rick Perry had harsh words for President Obama.
“In May of 2012 we sent a letter, laid out what was happening with the unaccompanied minors that were showing up at the border, and we told [the Administration], we said, ‘if you do not address this, here is what’s going to happen,’ and we’re seeing that become reality today. This is a failure of diplomacy. It is a failure of leadership,” Perry said.
“When I have written a letter that is dated May of 2012, and I have yet to have a response from this Administration, I will tell you they either are inept or don’t care, and that is my position.”
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, defended the Administration, claiming that Obama’s rhetoric wasn’t to blame for the immigration influx. Rather, Johnson argued, “push factors” like violence and poverty in the nations where most of the illegal immigrants are coming from are at the heart of the crisis.
Representative Paul Labrador (R-Idaho) insisted that Johnson was simply spouting Obama Administration talking points.
“If you look at what he said, he said the number one reason these kids are coming to the United States is violence in these Central American countries. The reality is the violence in these Central American countries has existed for a long time,” Labrador said on “Meet the Press”. “The level of poverty has existed in these Central American countries over a long period of time, but it’s over the last few years you’ve seen an increase in the number of children coming to the United States.”
The lawmaker echoed Cuellar’s assertion that the 2008 trafficking law should be changed.
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin (Ill.) criticized Republicans for placing blame for the immigration issues on the President during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“I am really getting fed up with some of the critics of this administration, particularly from House Republicans. They had the opportunity for one solid year to call the immigration reform bill and yet they refuse to, and now they’re arguing we need more enforcement at the borders, a lot of other things. When are they going to accept their responsibility to govern, to call this bipartisan bill for consideration?”
This week, President Obama is scheduled to travel to Texas to attend a Democratic fundraiser—but, despite repeated requests from Governor Perry, Obama isn’t scheduled to visit the border.