July 08, 2014, 07:08 am
WH: Obama would 'welcome' Perry meeting
By Rebecca Shabad
President Obama would “welcome” a meeting this week with Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to discuss the border crisis, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett wrote in a letter to Perry late Monday.
“The President would welcome a meeting with you while he is in Texas. In addition, he asked me to invite you to join him for a meeting to discuss the situation on the border with faith leaders and local elected officials in Dallas on Wednesday,” she said.
Jarrett highlighted the Obama administration’s efforts so far to handle the crisis at the border, where about 52,000 unaccompanied children have crossed into the United States from Central America since October.
The administration, she said, is taking appropriate care of the children, directing resources toward the Southwest border and increasing the capacity for more law enforcement to allow for quicker proceedings that lead them back to their home countries.
On Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will visit the border for a sixth time, she said.
“We are also working closely with our Mexican and Central American partners to address the root causes of the problem, stem the flow of migrants to the United States, and expand capacity to receive and reintegrate repatriated migrants,” she said.
On Tuesday, Jarrett said Obama will request supplemental appropriations from Congress to help strengthen these efforts.
The letter to Perry was in response to one he sent to the White House earlier in the day in which he rejected a quick meeting with Obama at the Austin-Bergstrom Airport.
"A quick handshake on the tarmac will not allow for a thoughtful discussion," he wrote in the letter Monday.
The White House had offered for Perry to meet with Obama there before he heads to a Texas fundraiser later this week.
"I would instead offer to meet with you at any time during your visit to Texas for a substantive meeting to discuss this critical issue," Perry said in the letter. "With appropriate notice, I am willing to change my schedule to facilitate this request."
Obama is scheduled to fly to Dallas on Wednesday and will be in Austin on Thursday to attend fundraisers. The administration’s critics have questioned why Obama won’t visit the border during the Texas visit, but it has pointed to other top officials who have.