Rick Perry invites Obama to the border, WH says no plans. Yet.


McClatchy Washington Bureau

The White House says President Barack Obama has no plans -- as of yet -- to tour the Texas/Mexico border when he’s in the state next week, despite an invite from Texas Gov. Rick Perry -- a 2012 Republican presidential hopeful.

Obama is scheduled to visit both Dallas and Austin next week to raise money for Democrats and the Republican governor issued an invite via Twitter today for Obama to “tour the border with me to see firsthand what is happening there.”

Minors from Central America have been flooding into the United States in unprecedented numbers, taxing resources at the border. But White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest suggested support for an immigration overhaul would be a better solution than a tour.

“Those individuals who are concerned about border security and concerned about the situation at the border...the most important thing they could do is not offer public invitations, but actually to lend their public support to comprehensive immigration reform,” Earnest said.

Perry replied after Earnest spoke, tweeting “The U.S. can't have immigration reform without securing the border first.”

Obama’s schedule next week doesn’t include a trip to the border, Earnest said, but “will include some activities other than just building some support for Democratic candidates for office who are on the ballot in November.”

Earnest said Obama is “very attuned to what's happening at the border” and that several senior administration officials, including Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and have traveled there to access the situation, visiting in particular Lackland Air Force Base, where the Department of Health and Human Services has opened a shelter for the unaccompanied migrant youth.

He noted Obama earlier this week ordered Homeland Security to move resources that are currently deployed in the interior to the border to address the situation. He’s also asked Congress for additional spending -- pegged at $2 billion -- to add immigration judges, asylum officials, attorneys and prosecutors and to open more facilities where those who are detained at the border can be held and processed.

Obama is also asking to give Johnson greater discretion to act quickly to deport the children, if they’re found to have no legal basis to be in the country, Earnest said.

That move came as Obama announced he plans to go it alone to revise immigration laws, charging that Republican obstructionism has left him no choice.

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