“It is a very large amount of money and as you analyze it, very little of it is for border security,” Perry said during an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”
“I think until he gets realistic about the problem and how you deal with the problem - and it is a border security issue, and we’ve got a track record now of five-plus years of him disregarding what’s going on on the border,” Perry said. “Here’s his opportunity to lead. Don’t blame this on anyone. Lay out a plan.”
Perry was pressed repeatedly on how the National Guardsmen would help stem the flow of tens of thousands of migrant children across the border. Children crossing the border now are largely turning themselves into Border Patrol agents, looking to enter a lengthy asylum process during which they are reconnected with family members living in the United States.
“The issue is being able to send that message. Because it’s the visual of it, I think that is most important,” Perry said.
He also suggested the presence of the guardsmen would allow some Border Patrol agents to return to their core missions, rather than deal with the bureaucracy created by the influx of migrant children.
“This is allowing the Border Patrol to get back to what they’re supposed to do,” Perry said.
Perry met with President Obama earlier this week, and after the meeting the president publicly asked the governor to pressure the Texas congressional delegation to support his proposed border supplemental.
“I urged the governor to talk to the Texas delegation, which is obviously at the heart of the Republican caucus both in the House and has great influence in the caucus in the Senate,” Obama said. “If the Texas delegation is in favor of this supplemental -- which, by the way, does not include some things that I know many of them object to around dealing with undocumented workers who have been in this country for quite some time -- this is just a very narrow issue, this supplemental, in terms of dealing with the particular problem we have right now -- if the Texas delegation is prepared to move, this thing can get done next week.”
Obama also said he’d be willing to consider deploying the National Guard as part of a compromise deal for the supplemental.
The spending request includes $1.6 billion to boost law enforcement efforts and surge additional immigration judges and lawyers too the border. But the majority of the funding would go to the Department of Health and Human Services to provide care for the children.
On Friday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the White House would “like to see Gov. Perry join the fight” for the Senate’s immigration reform package, saying it would send an even stronger message than deploying the National Guard.
“It seems to me that the 20,000 Border Patrol agents would be a better option -- which is why, if this is his genuine view, I would expect him to be an enthusiastic advocate for common-sense immigration reform,” Earnest said. “Passing common-sense immigration reform along the lines of what passed the Senate with bipartisan support would add 20,000 officers to the border. So even if it’s only for purely symbolic reasons, as Governor Perry says, that seems like a pretty good path.”