A true crisis just the same.
If you’ve watched any American news outlet in the last 48 hours, you are probably aware that President Obama will be in the Lone Star State today for a very brief trip… appearing at two separate Democratic fundraisers. The timing simply couldn’t be worse for the Commander-In-Chief, as things on the Texas Border seem to be anything but in command. The Right-wing media has been hugely successful in exploiting the tough situation, as evidence on Neil Cavuto’s Fox News program…
QUESTION: You say there’s an urgent humanitarian situation. Are you not at all concerned about the optics that the president can fly to Texas to raise political money, but he can’t go see this urgent humanitarian situation?
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We’re not worried about those optics, George, and that’s simply because the president is very aware of the situation that exists on the Southwest border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Very aware, so he doesn’t need to see the border for himself.
That isn’t exactly flying with Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar from the fine state of Texas. He says the president is one step behind on this mess.
The congressman now joins me on the phone.
So, Congressman, by that, I take it you — you mean he should be seeing the border?
REP. HENRY CUELLAR, D-TEXAS: Well, I hope this doesn’t become President Obama’s Katrina moment.
I’m sure that President Bush thought the same thing, that he could just look at everything from up in the sky, and then he owned it after — for a long time. So, I hope this doesn’t become the Katrina moment for President Obama, saying that he doesn’t need to come to border.
He should come down. Not only Governor Perry has asked him to come down, but I know my colleagues Filemon Vela and Ruben Hinojosa invited him to come down. And I certainly would ask him to come in, even though I still think he is still one step behind.
But he should come down to the border to see exactly what is happening.
Will the current border crisis become Obama’s ‘Katrina moment’?? The simple answer is no. These children aren’t being cared for in a way that is acceptable, but at least they are alive, and someone from our country is looking after them. Millions of people starved, and thousands died during Hurricane Katrina due to poor planning of the Federal Disaster apparatus.
Even if it won’t be a Katrina moment as Congressman Cuellar so irresponsibly suggests, it’s still a crisis… one of the longest-running humanitarian crises in U.S. history. We should not downplay how serious these issues are, nor should we try and use them to score political points that way Rick Perry and Congressional Republicans are doing. Instead of securing the border with faux militias that are nothing more than trigger-happy domestic terrorists, we should be ‘securing the border’ by making it a refuge for children and families in dire need. The legality of why they are here can be sorted out later, but the first thing we do as a country is to provide safety, in every case. Each one of these families has an entirely different situation, and the only way to do justice here is to talk to them all and find out why there are here, then take the appropriate legal action.
Does it ‘look bad’ for the President to be coming to Texas for fundraisers, and not taking time to personally view the situation in South Texas? On that point I have to agree with Republicans… yes it does. A better outcome would be for Obama to change his schedule and see what’s going on first hand. But unlike the GOP, Obama is at least willing to DO something about the crisis and about immigration reform. They are the ones that have blocked legislation at every turn. They are the ones that are protesting children in buses and crying for no amnesty. If not for Republican obstruction, Comprehensive Immigration Reform would already be law in the United States. All of these people that are demanding the optics of seeing the President on the border, when are you going to help him actually DO something on the border? The White House has already asked Congress for $3.7 billion dollars of aid for the region. If Congress agrees that we should send the money, then they need to pass a law. If they disagree and think there is a better solution, then they need to speak up and put that solution on the table.