Border Crisis 2014: Caring for Children, Stopping Flow Top Goals for Faith Leaders, Obama and Rick Perry

( [email protected] ) Jul 10, 2014 03:30 PM EDT
Obama and Rick Perry
President Obama, right, next to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings attended a border and immigration meeting with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and other local officials Wednesday.

Both President Barack Obama and Texas Governor Rick Perry met with elected officials and faith leaders about Dallas County commissioner court Judge Clay Jenkins' plan to house 2,000 refugee children in Dallas County. They tried to find common ground, and common goals in a search for ways to handle the border crisis that is getting worse by the day.

Those present at the meeting include Judge Jenkins, Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, and Democratic Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas, besides the President, Governor, and faith leaders.

Jenkins told reporters, "For the most part, we put aside those partisan arguments and we discussed a way to get this problem resolved."

Chris Liebrum of the Texas Baptist Convention and his group have helped the children at the border, and like many other leaders of faith in the border community, he has serious concerns for the people making the sometimes-deadly journey up from South America, especially because there are so many little ones these days.

"We are concerned with the children. It is a disaster. Hopefully, our Congress will come together and get something done because it is a result of our federal government not getting the job done that has caused this," he said afterwards.

Before leaving for scheduled fundraisers, the President said the Dallas area is compassionate after offering to house two thousand Central American children in Dallas County, according to CBS's local affiliate.

Despite calls from democrats to accept Perry's invitation to tour the U.S.-Mexico border where the humanitarian and national security crisis is in full-effect, Obama decided not to go, opting instead to meet in Dallas before attending one of three Democratic fundraisers in the state.

"The purpose of the meeting was to find solutions in dealing with the border crisis in Texas," Liebrum, director of disaster recovery for the TBC told The Christian Post Wednesday night.

"Our message and focus is on the children," Liebrum added. "We need to care for the children who are here now - that was my message to the president. We have a big immigration problem that needs to be solved; and it's the lack of a good immigration policy as to why this crisis, this disaster, has come about."

"Why aren't we passing comprehensive immigration reform which would put an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents [on the border] and give us a lot of additional authorities to deal with some of these problems?" Obama asked reporters after the meeting. "That should've been done a year ago; it should've been done two years ago. It's gotten caught up in politics."

Rick Perry and Obama
President Obama and Texas Gov. Rick Perry greet with a handshake Wednesday in Dallas. (AP)

As the story goes in American politics lately, Obama blames the Republicans for the problem, and the Republicans blame Obama. Both sides agree that they want the flow to slow to a manageable level, though.

Obama asked congress earlier in the week to approve $3.7 billion in supplemental emergency funding to help resolve the border crisis, and he called on Perry to help him get that deal done.

During his testimony before members of the U.S. Homeland Security Committee last Thursday in McAllen, Texas, Perry said that Texas only has seven Border Patrol agents per mile covering its border; unlike California, New Mexico and Arizona, which have 10 more agents per mile patrolling their southern border. Perry has called on the President to offset Texas' border patrol agents with National Guardsmen, until additional agents can be trained.

Besides the extra troops, Gov. Perry has requested the president also direct the Federal Aviation Administration to allow the National Guard to utilize Predator drones along the Texas-Mexico border for identifying and tracking human and drug trafficking, and he wants the immigrants to be medically screened, and the center for Disease Control or another appropriate federal agency outside the Department of Homeland Security to conduct, in conjunction with the Texas Department of State Health Services inspections of facilities in which illegal immigrants, including unaccompanied children, are being housed to ensure accepted international and national emergency sheltering standards are met.

Also, both the President and Governor Perry want to find a way to keep people from leaving their home countries, so some of the requested money is to be used as foreign aid to help curb issues that are driving people from their homes in the first place.