President Obama Engages Texas Leadership on Border Security Legislation

The president discusses his conversation with Texas Governor Rick Perry and local faith leaders on the border crisis.
21:56 | 07/09/14

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Transcript for President Obama Engages Texas Leadership on Border Security Legislation
Just -- a good meeting with Governor Perry. Local officials and faith leaders talk about the steps that we have taken and that we need to take to address the humanitarian situation on the border. And I want to thank Herbert has been involved for taking the time to talk to. It's important to recognize two -- First the surge. Of unaccompanied children. And adults with children. Are arriving but one sector of the border and that's the Rio Grande Valley. Seconds. The issue is not that people are debating our enforcement officials. The issue -- there were apprehending them in large numbers. And were working to make sure that we have sufficient facilities to detain house and process them appropriately. While attending to unaccompanied children with the care and compassion that they deserve -- -- in our custody. -- We intend to do the right thing by these children. Their parents. Need to know that this is an incredibly dangerous situation. And it is unlikely. That their children -- will be able to stay. And I've asked parents -- Central American not to put. Their children in harm's way in this fashion. -- right now there -- more Border Patrol agents and surveillance resources on the ground than at any time in our history. And we deport almost 400000. Migrants each year. But as soon as it became clear that this year's migration. To the border was different than in past years -- directed FEMA to coordinate -- response of the border. Members of my cabinet my staff -- made multiple trips to facilities there. And were also addressing. The root of the problem. -- -- Vice President Biden and secretary Kerry and sector Johnson. To meet with certain Central American leaders. As well as. Working with our international partners to go after smugglers were putting their kids lives at risk. And earlier this week Mexico announced a series of steps that they're gonna take on their southern border to help stem the tide. Of these unaccompanied children. Last week I sent a letter to congress. Asking them to increase penalties on smugglers and to give us flexibility to move migrants through the system faster. Yesterday. I asked congress to fund these efforts. About half of the resources would go to border security. Enforcement. And expedited removal of people who don't qualify for a humanitarian -- About half would go to make sure we're treating children humanely. Would also make investments to further tackle the root problems. In Central America. So. Right now congress has the capacity. To work with us. Work -- if state officials local officials. And faith based groups and not for profits -- were hoping to cure for these kids congress has the capacity to work -- all parties concerned. To a direct directly address. This situation. They've said. They want to see a solution. The supplemental offers them the capacity to vote immediately to get it done. Of course in the long -- the best way to truly address -- problems for the House of Representatives to pass. Legislation fixing our broken immigration system which by the way would include funding for. Additional. Thousands. Of border sick patrol agents something that everybody down here that -- talked to indicates is a priority. In the senate passed -- common sense bipartisan bill -- a year ago. It would have strengthen the border and added an additional 20000 Border Patrol agents. -- would have strengthened our backlogged immigration courts. It would put us in a stronger position to deal with this search. And in fact prevent. So. Let me just close by indicating the nature of the conversation that I -- with Governor Perry which -- -- was construct. Governor Perry. Suggested. Four specific. Areas of concern. He was concerned about. How many. Patrol agents were. Directly at the border he was concerned that some of the positioning of Border Patrol agents is too far from the border to be effective in deterring. Folks from coming in as opposed to simply apprehending them. I indicated to him that what he said -- like -- -- cents. And that in fact if we passed the supplemental we would then have the resources to carry out some of the very things that he's requesting. On a broader policy level and he indicated concern that right now. Kids who come. To the border from Mexico. Are immediately deported but. Because it's non contiguous. Folks were coming from Central America. Have to -- -- much like your process. I indicated to him the part of what we're looking in the supplemental is some flexibility. In terms of being able to preserve the due process rights of individuals who come in but also to make sure that we're sending a strong signal. That. They can't simply shore up the border and automatically assume that they're going to be -- -- he also expressed concerns about how the immigration. Judicial system works how the administrative processing works how long it takes and the fact that oftentimes people appear. -- then essentially released. With a court date that might be six months out of nine months out and a sizable number not -- don't show -- I indicated to him that if we had more administrative judges. More administrative capacity we can shrink. -- those. Wait times. This administrative practice. Pre -- my administration and in fact has been going on for quite some time and a lot of it has to do with the fact that there's not enough to -- Both in terms of detention facilities but also in terms of judges. Attorneys. Space. In order process these things more quickly and expeditiously. So the bottom line is actually but there's nothing that the governor indicated he'd like to see. That I have a philosophical objection to. I've asked. Contact his head health and human services. When he comes down for the sixth time. At the end of this week. To coordinate and make sure that some of the suggestions that the governor has. Are technically feasible and what kind of resources might be needed. -- -- -- the governor was the problem here is not. Major disagreement. Around the actions that could be helpful in dealing with the problem. The challenges. Is congress prepared to act. To put the resources in place to get this done. Another way of putting -- my service directly governor as -- folks more interest in politics -- the more interest in solving problems. If their interest in solving the problem. Man. This can be solved. If the preferences for politics -- -- won't be -- And Dyer urged the governor to talk to the Texas delegation which. His artistry of the heart of the Republican caucus -- in the house and has great influence. In the caucus in the senate. If the Texas delegation is in favor of the -- -- Which by the way does not include -- some things that I know many of them object to round. Dealing with. Undocumented workers who've been in this country for quite some time. This is just a very narrow issue this supplemental in terms of dealing with the particular problem we have right now if the Texas delegation is prepared to move. This thing can get done next week. We -- have more Border Patrol agents on the border as the governor's request of we can shorten the time tables for processing. These children or adults with children as the governor. Thinks is important. We can make sure that some of the public health issues that were raised. In the meeting that I just head are addressed so that we've got enough. Folks -- -- -- checking on the health status through these children to make sure that. Not only are they safe but also our communities are -- The things that's. The governor thinks are important to do would be a lot of users do we have the supplemental that gives us the resources don't and so the only question at this point -- Why why one the Texas delegation -- And together Republicans are concerned about this not wanna put this on a fast -- and get this on my desk sort of -- and we can start. -- to work. I suggested the governor he has I suspect some influence or the Texas delegation and that might be helpful. To call on them pass the supplemental. Right away. Final point I'll make is I just wanna thank some of the faith gave based groups that I just been met with as well as a mayors. Commissioners local officials. The Dallas has been. Incredibly compassionate and looking at some sites some facilities in which they can accommodate some these children. And and I indicated. In curing the stories of churches that are prepared to not just make donations -- send volunteers to. Helped it construct some response facilities -- fix -- And their willingness to have volunteered and and providing. Care and assistance to these children. I I told them thank you because if it confirmed weren't. I think we all know which is the American people are an incredibly -- on compassionate people and when we see a child and need we -- careful. But. What I think we all agreed on is is that. The best thing that we can do is to make sure that the children are able to live in their own countries safely. And that's why it's going to be important even as we solve the short term problem here. For us to be able to direct attention and resources. And assistance as were doing but not at. A sustained and high enough level. Back in Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador and other places. So that. Parents. Don't think that somehow. It's safer for their children to send them. Thousands miles. To so that they don't get -- -- that'll -- couple questions -- court. -- not just from Republicans also -- some Democrats for. Visit the -- for a trip to explain why didn't do that and do you see any legitimate reason for you to actually do that at some point -- keeping those holes are more about politics and. -- -- -- Johnson has now visited. And my direction the border five times. He's going for a sixth. This week. He then comes back and reports to me extensively on everything that's taking place. So there's nothing. That is taking place down there that I am not intimately aware of and briefed on. This -- -- This is a problem. I'm not interested in. Photo ops I'm interest installing -- -- And those who say. I assured -- of the border. When you ask him what should we be doing. They're giving us suggestions that are embodied in legislation -- minority. Sent to congress. So it's not as -- they're making suggestions. That we're not listening to infect. The suggestions of those who work at the border who visited the border. Are incorporated in legislation that weren't prepared to sign the minute it's my -- There's a very simple question here in that is congress -- pass the supplemental. There is a larger issue that I recognize involves lot of politics which is why are we present our present immigration reform. Which would put an additional 20000. Border Patrol agents and give us. Well a lot of additional. Authorities to deal with some of these problems that should have been done a year ago should've been done two years ago. It's gotten caught up in politics. And and I understand that. One of the suggestions I -- for Governor Perry was. That. It would be useful for. My Republican friends to -- discover the concept of negotiation and -- markets. The governors -- one concern that he mentioned to me was is that. Setting aside the -- -- I should go ahead and authorize having National Guard. Troops. Surge of the border right away. And I what what I told him as were happy to consider. How we could deploy -- National Guard. Down there but that's a temporary solution that's not a permanent solution. And so why wouldn't we. Go ahead and pass the permanent solution or at least -- longer term solution. And if the Texas delegation said. For us to pass the supplemental we want to include a commitment -- -- no -- National Guard early. Deputy consider. So the so that did this should not be. Part. To at least get the supplemental. The question is are we more interested in politics or are we more interest in solving the problem. -- for interest in solving the problem. Then there's actually some broad consensus around. A number of the issues. There may be some controversy -- and differences between Democrats or Republicans. On some of the -- is -- issues but on a whole bunch of this stuff there's a pretty broad consensus. Let's just get that -- but let's let's let's do work. -- -- supplement. Like you are here in the use of multiple victim was involved. Well let me. I think it's fair to say that these days in Washington ever has always concerned about everything falling victim of partisan politics. You know if if -- five. Sponsored -- bill. Declaring their apple pie American. Might. -- might fall victim. To partisan politics I get that. On the other hand this is an issue in which. My Republican friends have said it's urgent we need -- And. If that's the case then what's drug effects and as I indicated don't work very -- he suggested well maybe just need to go -- That might. Convince Republicans that they should go and pass the supplemental. And I had to remind them I'm consumer -- by mr. Boehner apparently. For -- -- and acting instead. Gone through congress well here's a good test case. This is something you say as important. As I do this is an area that you have prioritized. As I have. Don't wait. For me to take executive actions if when you have -- capacity right now. To go and get something -- I will sign their bill tomorrow we're gonna go -- -- -- we can administratively but this gives us the tools to do many of the very things that. Republicans are seeking at the same time I will just repeat. That. If we got a comprehensive bill done. It doesn't just. Solve this problem for a year. It solves it potentially for twenty years and I would urge those who. The so far at least have failed to to act on the comprehensive -- take another look at it like -- can promise. I think Gary promises but it was a constructive conversation and I just want to emphasize that you know it -- I think that it was a good exchange of ideas. And he did have some specific suggestions in terms of how we align. Border. Agents. That -- vast. More effectively than we're currently. Doing and I think it is important that we make sure we've got. A strong federal state collaboration on the issue -- take just two more questions. Earlier in regards campaign put -- a statement shortly before you spoke to. His purview to secure the border does that statement anyway indicated he's in his -- -- -- come tomorrow. I'm interest since current -- so as I explained. As far as I could tell the only disagreement I have a Governor Perry was is that you want me to -- -- without congress have been doing anything. Will do what we can administratively. I think -- useful question. Not simply for the governor but for John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and the other. Members of Texas delegation is while what you go and pass a bill to give us additional resources to solve very problem -- -- are. -- -- Republicans said. Deferred action executive order from 112. Side is to blame it was occasions. Other children taking. What you say it. You know if you look at the pattern of immigration. Into our country. We are at a actually a significantly lower level in terms of overall. Immigration flow of illegal immigration for -- we were. When I took office. I think that's. The challenge we have that has really caused a spike. Is. The significant. Security. Challenges in these Central American countries themselves. And the fact that you've got smugglers were increasingly. Recognizing that they can make money. By transporting. These folks often -- very dangerous circumstances. To the border and taking advantage of -- compassion of the American people. Recognizing that we're not -- Simply. Leave. Abandoned. Children were left at our doorstep but -- we've got a cure for them and provide them. Some. Basic safety and security. While we determined. Where we can where we can send them. But. I think one of the most important things that we're gonna have to recognize that this is not going to be short term problem this is a long term problem. We have countries that are pretty close to us. In which the life chances of children are just far far worse than they are here and parents. -- frightened. Or are. Misinformed about what's possible. Or -- to take extraordinary risks on behalf of their kids the more the -- due to help. These countries. Get their acts together. Then the less likely we are to have a problem. And that at the borders. And and the fact of the matter is is that -- And comprehensive immigration reform generally. Would allow us to reallocate resources precisely because. All the budget. DHS. Instead of us chasing after families that it may have been living here for five or ten years and have kids were US citizens and are. The law abiding save for the fact that they didn't come here legally. It if if they have to earn citizenship. Paying taxes learning English. You know. Paying a fine. Going to the back of the line but there are no longer a enforcement priority. That's only frees up a huge amount of resources to do exactly the kinds of things that many Republicans -- almost for -- trusts do. And that we've tried to do within the resource limitations that we have -- Let your money for --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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