WH: Perry challenge ‘hard to take seriously’

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's (R) call for President Obama to rescind his deferred action program over the unaccompanied minor crisis on the border is "hard to take seriously," the White House said Thursday.

"That's not going to happen," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday.

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Perry and other Republicans have suggested that the flood of tens of thousands of immigrants across the border was the result of the president's program, which affords certain children who illegally entered the country temporary legal status.

The White House has noted that children flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border are not eligible for the program, with senior officials, including the president, warning families not to send their children.

"Parents should not put their children in the hands of criminals to transport them to the Southwest border with the expectation that they'll be welcomed into the country," Earnest said. "They won't."

Earnest also dismissed Perry's call for the president to visit the border during a fundraising trip to Texas next week.

Earnest said Republican critics like the governor "would rather play politics than try to address some of these problems."

"I think the most effective way that Governor Perry can help, if that's what he says he wants to do, would be to pick up the phone and call the Republican members of the House of Representatives that represent the state of Texas and tell them to support the bipartisan proposal to reform our immigration system that passed through the Senate," Earnest said.

"That would have a tangible impact on so many of the problems that we see in our immigration system, not just the problems that we're seeing at the border — although it would address them because it includes significant investments in border security, that compromise proposal."

Earnest also argued that "senior administration officials have spent a lot of time on the border because the president and other members of his senior team are concerned."

In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Perry said that if the president did not come visit the border, it was "a real reflection of his lack of concern of what’s really going on there."

“If the president of the United States is really serious about securing that border, we can show him how to do that,” Perry said. “But I haven’t even had a phone call from this president.”