White House 'Not Worried' About 'Optics' of Obama Bypassing Texas Border

July 8, 2014 - 5:49 AM

Immigration Overload Hot Spot

Illegal immigrants line up for tickets at a bus station after they were released from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in McAllen, Texas in June.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(CNSNews.com) - As of Tuesday morning, one day before he flies to Texas for political fundraisers, President Obama had no plans to visit any of the overwhelmed Border Patrol stations in Texas, nor did he plan to visit the facilities where thousands of Central American children are being housed on the taxpayers' dime.

"We're not worried about those optics," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a reporter who asked him if the Obama administration should be worried about how it will look for the president to be in Texas and ignore the border crisis.

"Well, I hope this doesn't become President Obama's Katrina moment," Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, told Fox News on Monday.

"I'm sure that President Bush thought the same thing, that he could just look at everything from up in the sky, and then he owned it after -- for a long time. So, I hope this doesn't become the Katrina moment for President Obama, saying that he doesn't need to come to border.

"He should come down," Cuellar continued. "Not only Governor Perry has asked him to come down, but I know my colleagues (Democratic Reps.) Filemon Vela and Ruben Hinojosa invited him to come down. And I certainly would ask him to come in, even though I still think he is still one step behind. But he should come down to the border to see exactly what is happening."

"[T]he president is very aware of the situation that exists on the Southwest border," Earnest told reporters on Monday. He noted that other "senior administration officials" have traveled to the arer. "What they have seen is troubling," he admitted.

"So the president's well-aware of what's happening along the Southwest border, and that is why you've seen the wide range of steps from the authority the president already has to enforce the law. You've also seen -- and we'll get more details tomorrow -- on the request the president will make of Congress to give the administration additional resources that can be used to address this problem."

The president on Tuesday was asking Congress for $2 billion in emergency spending to house the unaccompanied alien children and provide them with legal assistance for their immigration hearings.

But Cuellar said the crisis isn't just humanitarian in nature: "I think it has some homeland (security) issues that we need to address also."

Cuellar said he sent suggestions to the Obama White House a month ago on how to deal with the border crisis.

"I sent a letter giving them my suggestions on how we ought to set up a one-stop center where we actually have immigration judges down there, we have the detentions, we do the removals, just the way we treat contiguous countries like Mexico and Canada, in this case mainly Mexico. And you do everything down there.

"But I never got a response. Senator Cornyn and I also sent a letter asking about the status, how the kids are going to be treated. We never got a response."

Cuellar has said the Obama administration is "one step behind" on the border crisis: "This did not happen overnight," he told Fox News on Monday.

"If you look at it, in last -- in 2013, there were already 25,000 kids that had come in. So this is something that just didn't happen from one day to the other. It had been happening..."