Dems invite Obama to visit US-Mexico border

 

Two Democratic congressmen on Tuesday invited President Obama to visit the Texas-Mexico border to see the humanitarian crisis caused by a massive influx of young immigrants.

Texas Reps. Rubén Hinojosa and Filemon Vela said Obama must see "firsthand" what is happening on the border to fully understand the scope of the crisis, as more than 52,000 unaccompanied minors have entered the country illegally this year. 

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"We know that you share our interest in caring for these young migrants while addressing the root causes which have driven them to leave their homes and seek refuge in the United States, and we look forward to seeing you in Texas," according to a letter dated Friday but sent on Tuesday. 

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) made a similar request to Obama last month.

A number of officials have visited the Rio Grande Valley, where a large number of immigrant children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are entering the United States illegally. 

On Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson were in the region.

An extra 150 U.S. Border Patrol agents are being sent to South Texas, Johnson announced.

Obama sent a letter to Congress on Monday asking for increased authority to help deport the new wave of immigrants and $2 billion in funding to deal with the crisis, which would include funding for more immigration judges to speed up the process.  

He also asked his administration Monday to prepare a list of executive actions he could take in the face of congressional inaction on broader immigration reform. Obama announced he would begin prioritizing resources from the interior to border security. 

The two congressmen said they support the president’s action. 

"To fully comprehend what is happening in our region, one must see this firsthand because one will certainly be impacted by the humanitarian side of this issue," Hinojosa said.

"We know the President is committed to helping all that he can and has already taken aggressive steps. Now we would like for him to see what the needs are for the refugees, our federal agents and our volunteers,” he added. “More work needs to be done."

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