Obama: 'This Isn't Theater...I'm Not Interested in Photo Ops'
(CNSNews.com) - President Obama told reporters in Dallas, Texas Wednesday night that he skipped a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border because he already knows what's going on there -- and because he's "not interested in photo ops."
"This isn't theater. This is a problem. I'm not interested in photo ops. I'm interested in solving a problem," said the man whose most recent photo-op took place in a Denver bar less than 24 hours earlier.
After a round of fund-raisers in Texas, the president on Wednesday night indicated that he doesn't need to visit the border because his Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has "now visited, at my direction...five times," and is about to return for a sixth visit.
"He then comes back and reports to me extensively on what's talking place. So there's nothing that's taking place down there that I'm not intimately aware of and briefed on."
Obama said the suggestions he's getting on how to deal with the border crisis are all "embodied" in the $3.7 billion supplemental spending request he sent to Congress on Tuesday. "So it's not as if they're making suggestions that we're not listening to," he said.
"There's a very simple question here, and that is, Congress just needs to pass the supplemental. There's a larger issue that I recognize involves a lot of politics, which is, why aren't we passing comprehensive immigration reform?
"That should have been done a year ago -- should have been two years ago. It's gotten caught up in politics, and I understand that. One of the suggestions I had for Governor Perry was that it would be useful for my Republican friends to discover the concept of negotiation and compromise."
In a sign of his own willingness to "compromise," Obama said Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked him to deploy National Guard troops to the Texas border even before the supplemental spending bill is passed.
"And what I told him is, we're happy to consider how we could deploy National Guard down there, but that's a temporary solution, that's not a permanent solution. And so why wouldn't we go ahead and pass the permanent solution, or at least a longer-term solution. And if the Texas (congressional) delegation said, for us to pass the supplemental, we want to include a commitment that you're going to send some National Guard early -- be happy to consider it."
Obama said some of the border problems, including long wait times for deportation hearings, "pre-date" his administration.
In their conversation on Wednesday, Obama said Perry had expressed concerns about how the judicial processing works -- "how long it takes and the fact that oftentimes people appear, are then essentially released, with a court date that might be six months out, or nine months out, and a sizable number not surprisingly don't show up.
"I indicated to him if we had more administrative judges, more administrative capacity, we could shrink those wait times. This administrative practice pre-dates my administration...."