President Obama Calls on Congress to Act Now to Fix Border Crisis

President Barack Obama says Congress has the ability to act immediately to address the wave of unaccompanied minors coming over the border from Mexico into the U.S.

"The problem here is not major disagreement," Obama said in Dallas. "If they're interested in solving the problem, then this can be solved. If the preference is for politics, then it won't be solved."

Obama spoke in Dallas after meeting Wednesday with Gov. Rick Perry and other officials about the unaccompanied minors entering the country by the thousands.

In the meeting, Gov. Perry urged the president to undertake the necessary steps to secure the border and ease the crises.

"Five hundred miles south of here in the Rio Grande Valley there is a humanitarian crisis unfolding that has been created by bad public policy, in particular the failure to secure the border," Gov. Perry said. "Securing the border is attainable, and the president needs to commit the resources necessary to get this done."

Obama's trip comes one day after he asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency spending to get more resources to the border.

Obama cast his meeting with Perry as "constructive" and argued that he is already seeking to do much of what the governor is calling for, including sending additional resources to the border to make the deportation process more effective.

"Bottom line is that there's nothing the governor indicated he'd like to see that I have a philosophical objection to," Obama said.

In addition to National Guard troops, Obama said Perry had requested a repositioning of border patrol agents and policy changes to make it easier to deport children from Central American countries found to have no legal basis for entering the country.

He said he was "happy to consider" the National Guard request, arguing that many of the other ideas he's hearing from Republicans are actually included in the emergency request he so direly wants Congress to approve. He called on Perry to help persuade fellow Republicans to go along.

"The only question at this point is why wouldn't the Texas delegation, or any of the other Republicans who are concerned about this, not want to put this on the fast track?" Obama said.

To those pressing Obama to visit the border during his two-day trip to Texas, he retorted: "This is not theater. This is a problem."

President Obama's Arrival in North Texas

Air Force One touched down at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport just before 4 p.m. Perry met Obama at the foot of the stairs to Air Force One, after waiting a few minutes and shaking hands with Air Force personnel. Obama bounded down the stairs and gave Perry a big wave. Perry didn't wave back, but the two shook hands and then quickly turned and walked toward Marine One, the helicopter that would take them to the round-table meeting. Obama put his hand on Perry's back for some of the walk.

Obama and Perry had a closed-door, one-on-one meeting at DalFort Fueling that lasted 15-minutes.

Afterward, Obama and Perry attended a meeting on the border crisis that included Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas, Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen, Chris Liebrum of the Baptist General Convention, Arne Nelson of Catholic Charities, Texas Health and Human Services Director Kyle Janek and Texas Public Safety Director Steven McCraw.

The roundtable discussion in Dallas is seen by the White House as a way to address the immigration issue while avoiding awkward optics at the border. Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have arrived there in recent months, many fleeing violence in Central America, but also drawn by rumors that they can stay in the U.S. White House officials say most are unlikely to qualify for humanitarian relief and will be sent back to their home countries.

An estimated 2,000 migrant children are expected in North Texas by the end of July.

Obama's trip comes one day after he asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency spending to get more resources to the border.

President Obama Attends Fundraiser in Dallas

The president attended a fundraiser in North Dallas.

On Wednesday night, a private fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was held at the house of prominent Dallas attorney Marc Stanley.

Neighbors told NBC 5 it's a minimum $10,000 donation to attend the private fundraiser dinner with the President.

"I'm so happy I means gosh – just a block away from my house," said neighbor Jeanne Loman. "You can see it happening over in Preston Hollow, Strait Lane or something like that but you know in our little neighborhood with all these humble houses?"

President Obama was at the fundraiser for about an hour. It was there he touted his record and urged Democrats to vote in mid-term elections. He also acknowledged there was work to be done citing immigration reform.

Then it was back to Love Field, then Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and off to Austin. Air Force One left DFW Airport just after 9 p.m. Wednesday night.

In Austin Obama will be at a fundraiser hosted by a Hollywood director. He will have a speech Thursday at the Paramount Theater on the economy. It's expected to be packed, with folks having camped out for a ticket.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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