By Justin Sink - 06/20/14 06:24 PM EDT
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is inviting President Obama to visit the U.S.-Mexico border, saying he needs "to see firsthand" the humanitarian crisis from an influx of illegal migrants.
In a letter sent to the White House on Friday, Perry called the president to Texas to survey the areas where tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have illegally crossed the border.
"There is no doubt that I have disagreed with you and your administration on many policies over the years," Perry wrote. "This crisis, however, transcends any political differences we may have.
“The safety and security of our border communities is being threatened by this flood of illegal immigration, and the crisis worsens by the day," he added.
Perry also called on Obama to "modify or rescind policies that serve as a magnet to encourage illegal immigration," in particular the so-called catch-and-release program. That program releases illegal immigrants into relatives' care and orders them to appear at a later date for deportation proceedings.
"The complex situation along the border is deteriorating, and it requires a multifaceted approach to resolve, and must begin with border security," Perry wrote.
Earlier Friday, the White House announced it would send tens of millions of dollars to Central American countries to help them improve security and repatriate immigrants who had attempted to enter the U.S.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest credited a "deliberate misinformation campaign" from "criminal syndicates in Central America" for the influx of minors.
"There is a concern that there are criminal elements, like narco-gangs and human traffickers, who are involved in this," Earnest said.
When asked about deploying more National Guard to the border, Earnest said there was "already significant enforcement resources that have been deployed" and that there was "no specific plan" to use the Guard.
Earnest also said Republicans concerned about the influx should consider the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill, which includes "a significant additional investment in resources."