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Texas Gov. Puts Pressure on Obama

Republicans Want A Visit to the Border

  • FILE - This June 30, 2014 file photo shows President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, pausing while making a statement about immigration reform, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. A planned fundraising trip to Texas next week is complicating President Barack Obama’s stance on immigration amid a brewing border crisis. The president finds himself caught between his call to speed up the deportations of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S. border, and his search for ways to let other immigrants -- already in the U.S. illegally -- stay on. Texas’ Republican governor is pressing the president to take a firsthand look at the crisis on the border during next week’s trip.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

    FILE - This June 30, 2014 file photo shows President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, pausing while making a statement about immigration reform, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. A planned fundraising trip to Texas next week is complicating President Barack Obama’s stance on immigration amid a brewing border crisis. The president finds himself caught between his call to speed up the deportations of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S. border, and his search for ways to let other immigrants -- already in the U.S. illegally -- stay on. Texas’ Republican governor is pressing the president to take a firsthand look at the crisis on the border during next week’s trip. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

  • FILE - This June 30, 2014 file photo shows President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, pausing while making a statement about immigration reform, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. A planned fundraising trip to Texas next week is complicating President Barack Obama’s stance on immigration amid a brewing border crisis. The president finds himself caught between his call to speed up the deportations of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S. border, and his search for ways to let other immigrants -- already in the U.S. illegally -- stay on. Texas’ Republican governor is pressing the president to take a firsthand look at the crisis on the border during next week’s trip.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

    FILE - This June 30, 2014 file photo shows President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, pausing while making a statement about immigration reform, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. A planned fundraising trip to Texas next week is complicating President Barack Obama’s stance on immigration amid a brewing border crisis. The president finds himself caught between his call to speed up the deportations of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S. border, and his search for ways to let other immigrants -- already in the U.S. illegally -- stay on. Texas’ Republican governor is pressing the president to take a firsthand look at the crisis on the border during next week’s trip. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

  • FILE - In this April 25, 2014, file photo, Northwestern football players walk between their locker room and McGaw Hall, where voting is taking place on the student athlete union question in Evanston, Ill. A national organization representing college and university presidents is disputing a federal ruling that students who receive college athletic scholarships are essentially employees of their schools and thus entitled to join unions and exercise collective-bargaining rights. Student-athletes participate for their own benefit; they do not render services for compensation, said the 1,800 member American Council on Education.  Ahead of a midnight deadline, the council filed a 30-page friend-of-the court brief taking strong issue with the ruling earlier this year by a National Labor Relations Board regional director that allows college athletes at Northwestern University to unionize.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

    FILE - In this April 25, 2014, file photo, Northwestern football players walk between their locker room and McGaw Hall, where voting is taking place on the student athlete union question in Evanston, Ill. A national organization representing college and university presidents is disputing a federal ruling that students who receive college athletic scholarships are essentially employees of their schools and thus entitled to join unions and exercise collective-bargaining rights. Student-athletes participate for their own benefit; they do not render services for compensation, said the 1,800 member American Council on Education. Ahead of a midnight deadline, the council filed a 30-page friend-of-the court brief taking strong issue with the ruling earlier this year by a National Labor Relations Board regional director that allows college athletes at Northwestern University to unionize.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

  • FILE - In this April 25, 2014, file photo, Northwestern football players walk between their locker room and McGaw Hall, where voting is taking place on the student athlete union question in Evanston, Ill. A national organization representing college and university presidents is disputing a federal ruling that students who receive college athletic scholarships are essentially employees of their schools and thus entitled to join unions and exercise collective-bargaining rights. Student-athletes participate for their own benefit; they do not render services for compensation, said the 1,800 member American Council on Education.  Ahead of a midnight deadline, the council filed a 30-page friend-of-the court brief taking strong issue with the ruling earlier this year by a National Labor Relations Board regional director that allows college athletes at Northwestern University to unionize.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

    FILE - In this April 25, 2014, file photo, Northwestern football players walk between their locker room and McGaw Hall, where voting is taking place on the student athlete union question in Evanston, Ill. A national organization representing college and university presidents is disputing a federal ruling that students who receive college athletic scholarships are essentially employees of their schools and thus entitled to join unions and exercise collective-bargaining rights. Student-athletes participate for their own benefit; they do not render services for compensation, said the 1,800 member American Council on Education. Ahead of a midnight deadline, the council filed a 30-page friend-of-the court brief taking strong issue with the ruling earlier this year by a National Labor Relations Board regional director that allows college athletes at Northwestern University to unionize.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

  • A news conference is held on Thursday, July 3, 2014, at the Harlingen Immigration Court parking lot on Jefferson Ave at which House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), left, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA 49th District), left, discussed this week’s trip to the RGV Sector of the U.S.-Mexico border by several members of the House Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Valley Morning Star, Maricela Rodriguez)

    A news conference is held on Thursday, July 3, 2014, at the Harlingen Immigration Court parking lot on Jefferson Ave at which House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), left, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA 49th District), left, discussed this week’s trip to the RGV Sector of the U.S.-Mexico border by several members of the House Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Valley Morning Star, Maricela Rodriguez)

  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry talks to members of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security about the humanitarian and national security crises going on along the Texas-Mexico border Thursday July 3, 2014 in McAllen, Texas.  Perry said that the tens of thousands of Central American children entering the U.S. illegally is both a humanitarian crisis and a national security one. (AP Photo/The Monitor, Gabe Hernandez)  MAGS OUT; TV OUT

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry talks to members of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security about the humanitarian and national security crises going on along the Texas-Mexico border Thursday July 3, 2014 in McAllen, Texas. Perry said that the tens of thousands of Central American children entering the U.S. illegally is both a humanitarian crisis and a national security one. (AP Photo/The Monitor, Gabe Hernandez) MAGS OUT; TV OUT

  • FILE - This June 30, 2014 file photo shows President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, pausing while making a statement about immigration reform, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. A planned fundraising trip to Texas next week is complicating President Barack Obama’s stance on immigration amid a brewing border crisis. The president finds himself caught between his call to speed up the deportations of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S. border, and his search for ways to let other immigrants -- already in the U.S. illegally -- stay on. Texas’ Republican governor is pressing the president to take a firsthand look at the crisis on the border during next week’s trip.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
  • FILE - This June 30, 2014 file photo shows President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, pausing while making a statement about immigration reform, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. A planned fundraising trip to Texas next week is complicating President Barack Obama’s stance on immigration amid a brewing border crisis. The president finds himself caught between his call to speed up the deportations of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S. border, and his search for ways to let other immigrants -- already in the U.S. illegally -- stay on. Texas’ Republican governor is pressing the president to take a firsthand look at the crisis on the border during next week’s trip.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
  • FILE - In this April 25, 2014, file photo, Northwestern football players walk between their locker room and McGaw Hall, where voting is taking place on the student athlete union question in Evanston, Ill. A national organization representing college and university presidents is disputing a federal ruling that students who receive college athletic scholarships are essentially employees of their schools and thus entitled to join unions and exercise collective-bargaining rights. Student-athletes participate for their own benefit; they do not render services for compensation, said the 1,800 member American Council on Education.  Ahead of a midnight deadline, the council filed a 30-page friend-of-the court brief taking strong issue with the ruling earlier this year by a National Labor Relations Board regional director that allows college athletes at Northwestern University to unionize.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
  • FILE - In this April 25, 2014, file photo, Northwestern football players walk between their locker room and McGaw Hall, where voting is taking place on the student athlete union question in Evanston, Ill. A national organization representing college and university presidents is disputing a federal ruling that students who receive college athletic scholarships are essentially employees of their schools and thus entitled to join unions and exercise collective-bargaining rights. Student-athletes participate for their own benefit; they do not render services for compensation, said the 1,800 member American Council on Education.  Ahead of a midnight deadline, the council filed a 30-page friend-of-the court brief taking strong issue with the ruling earlier this year by a National Labor Relations Board regional director that allows college athletes at Northwestern University to unionize.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
  • A news conference is held on Thursday, July 3, 2014, at the Harlingen Immigration Court parking lot on Jefferson Ave at which House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), left, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA 49th District), left, discussed this week’s trip to the RGV Sector of the U.S.-Mexico border by several members of the House Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Valley Morning Star, Maricela Rodriguez)
  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry talks to members of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security about the humanitarian and national security crises going on along the Texas-Mexico border Thursday July 3, 2014 in McAllen, Texas.  Perry said that the tens of thousands of Central American children entering the U.S. illegally is both a humanitarian crisis and a national security one. (AP Photo/The Monitor, Gabe Hernandez)  MAGS OUT; TV OUT

Washington — President Obama is facing mounting calls from Republicans to take a firsthand look at the immigration emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, putting him on the spot concerning what he has called the “humanitarian crisis” of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children flooding in from Central America.

“If he doesn’t come to the border, I think it’s a real reflection of his lack of concern of what’s really going on there,” declared Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2016.

The White House said Thursday that Obama currently has no plans to visit the border when he travels to Texas next week, primarily to fundraise for Democratic congressional candidates. A trip to the border could result in awkward optics for the president, who would be unlikely to meet with youngsters he’s seeking to deport and would risk upsetting immigration advocates who oppose the deportations if he were to meet with border patrol agents or other law enforcement.

Administration officials say that Perry and other Republicans are merely trying to score political points rather than working to resolve a major problem. But the political concerns aren’t so easily dismissed for Obama.

The border crisis has put him in the difficult position of asking Congress for more money and authority to send the children back home at the same time he’s seeking ways to allow millions of other people already in the U.S. illegally to stay.

The White House also wants to keep the focus of the debate in this midterm election year on Republican lawmakers whom the president has accused of blocking progress on a comprehensive overhaul of America’s immigration laws. Obama announced this week that, due to a lack of progress on Capitol Hill, he was moving forward to seek out ways to adjust U.S. immigration policy without congressional approval.

Obama’s options for that range from relatively modest changes in deportation procedures to broader moves that could shield millions of people in the U.S. illegally from deportation while giving them temporary authorization to work here.

Immigration advocates emerged from a meeting with Obama this week convinced that the president was at least considering the more aggressive approach.

“He’s totally flipped from doing everything possible to give Republicans the space to get to ‘yes’ to doing everything possible to cement the reputation of the GOP as anti-immigrant and to bolster the Democratic Party’s image as the party that’s for them,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a leading advocacy group.

Those proposals stand in stark contrast to the Obama administration’s response to the influx of unaccompanied minors showing up at the border. The president has asked Congress for $2 billion in emergency spending to hire more immigration judges and open more detention facilities.

He’s also seeking the flexibility to speed up the youths’ deportations.

Republicans have sought to draw a link between the current crisis and Obama’s desire to use executive powers to change immigration laws. They point specifically to his 2012 deferred-action decision, saying it has left the impression in Central America that youngsters arriving in the U.S. alone would be allowed to stay.

“This is a disaster of President Barack Obama’s own making,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Goodlatte spoke to reporters Thursday from Texas where he was finishing a trip to the border. He urged Obama to make his own visit next week.

Obama’s advisers challenged the motivations of those calling for the president to add a stop at the border to an itinerary that currently has him visiting Dallas and Austin.

“The reason that some people are suggesting the president should go to border when he’s in Texas is because they’d rather play politics than actually trying to address some of these challenges,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Earnest noted that senior administration officials, including Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, have made trips to the border in recent weeks. Vice President Joe Biden also traveled to Guatemala last month as part of the White House’s efforts to discourage adults from sending their children to the U.S. and to dispel the notion that they would be guaranteed entry.

Most of the 50,000 unaccompanied minors that have been caught at the border are arriving from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

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