President Barack Obama will attend three fundraisers in Texas next week, but won't be visiting the border to see the illegal immigration crisis for himself because "it would send a bad signal for the president to be seen with these children," Rep. Pete Sessions told Newsmax Saturday.
"He's not wanted in Texas," the Lone Star State Republican said in an interview. "We could care less about him coming down here trying to put on a fake face about what he has done."
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"I could care less if he comes to Texas and do not want him to be seen doing a press conference with what he's doing at Lackland," Sessions said. "It would only encourage the circumstances further."
The six-term congressman was referring to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where more than 1,800 illegal minors have been processed and detained since being arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents in May.
The White House said on Thursday that Obama would be in Texas for fundraisers in Dallas and Austin next week, Breitbart News reports
President Obama will attend events for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Dallas on Wednesday and two fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee in Austin on Wednesday and Thursday, according to Breitbart.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that Obama was not planning to visit the border or the detention centers at Lackland or at Border Patrol stations in the Lone Star State because he had enough information from his senior advisers.
"There are a whole range of senior officials in this administration over the course of the last three or four weeks who have spent a lot of time in the southwest border," Earnest said, according to Breitbart. "The president has a very good sense of what’s happening on the border. He’s getting regular updates from his officials who have traveled to that region."
These include Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson and White House Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Munoz, who "in the last several weeks have spent a lot of time visiting the border to assess the conditions there," Earnest said.
Between Oct. 1 and June 15, more than 181,000 illegals have been arrested by Border Patrol agents while entering the U.S. More than 52,000 minors traveling alone
have also been apprehended. Many of them come from Mexico and such Central American countries as Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
By law, illegal minors from caught traveling alone from Central America cannot be rapidly deported, unlike those from Mexico because the U.S. shares a border with that country.
Those minors, however, must be transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours of their arrest. They then are detained at shelters until they can be released to family members while awaiting to appear in immigration court.
Besides Lackland, detention centers have been set up at Fort Sill Army Base in Oklahoma
and at Naval Base Ventura County in Southern California. The temporary housing costs taxpayers $252 per child per day.
DHS also has sent the illegals to shelters in various communities around the country, sparking heated protests from some residents. Six people were arrested on Friday in Murrieta, Calif., as more than 200 angry citizens blocked buses trying to bring illegals to a local Border Patrol station.
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In addition, at least five cases of the H1N1 flu
have been confirmed in illegal minors at detention centers in Brownsville, Texas. At least seven South Texas hospitals are now screening illegals for diseases before they are sent to detention centers, the El Paso Times reports
Sessions was among several Texas Republicans and law-enforcement officials to slam Obama on Saturday for not planning to visit the border, especially since he has described the situation as "a humanitarian crisis."
"Texas is currently facing a humanitarian crisis, and the president owes it to Texans to visit the border and see the crisis his policies created," Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn said in a statement. He has represented Texas since 2002.
Don Reay, executive director of the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition, demurred at Obama's decision.
"Typical," he said in an interview. "I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed because this is a serious matter.
"It's purely a political trip," Reay added. "It's not to deal with the problem. I can't see it any other way."
In his interview, Sessions said that he was "not going to beat up the president" for not visiting the border because Obama created the situation with his lax enforcement of the nation's immigration laws.
"If we're to be really honest about this, the president should be worried about his actions and what he's done," he said. "Him being seen in front of cameras with these masses of children, tens of thousands of them, I think that's a mistake — and the White House knows that.
"The President of the United States has recognized that this is a political exercise that he's engaged in. "If it's humanitarian, the president would show up and see, first-hand, and be able to draw his own analysis."
He referred to President George W. Bush being widely attacked for not visiting New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"When you come down and get involved in the circumstances, there's a whole lot of questions — and a whole lot of people want to know how and why and what it's going to take, and they size up an operation," Sessions said. "This president is incapable of doing that."
Obama plans to ask Congress this week for $2 billion
as a part of his vow to address the situation through executive action. His request would first be heard by the House Rules Committee, which Sessions chairs.
"We'll have a full and thoughtful hearing on what the president believes we should do," he told Newsmax. "But I am not going to vote to give the money to the president if he has not satisfied me that it is in the best interest of solving the problem."
Reay said he also is more focused on what Obama plans to do about the crisis.
"That's always my concern, when politicians ask for money and they haven't defined a plan. Why should a government entity who's asking for that kind of money, that would come from the American taxpayer, not have a plan — or at least not be willing to share that plan?
"It doesn't show very good form to come for fund-raising while this crisis is going on," he said. "I'd sure like to see a plan for that $2 billion.
"I'll bet you that none of it will go to where it should, on the local level. I sure hope I'm wrong on that."
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