[guest post by Dana]
As the illegal detainee issue continues to make headlines, a panel on MSNBC discussed several issues regarding the border catastrophe, including President Obama’s refusal to visit the border (as Governor Perry has requested), Democrats avoidance of talking about the border mess and President Obama’s “Katrina” moment.
Taking a moment to focus on the president’s decision not to visit the border, one wonders, if the border situation is a “humanitarian crisis” as he has told us, then how can he not make the visit? Consider how awful the optics would be if the President of the United States were in the near vicinity of a declared humanitarian crisis and intentionally avoided it. And further, just think what would have happened if President Bush had chosen not to personally visit the site of a humanitarian crisis within our borders in order to further inform his opinion and provide leadership and support? Oh, wait.
Regarding the non-visit, White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to justify it:
“I defend that by describing to you that there are a whole range of senior officials in this administration over the course of the last three or four weeks who have spent a lot of time in the southwest border,” he said.
Earnest said that “senior officials” from FEMA and officials like Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Cecilia Munoz, the White House’s Domestic Policy Director, “in the last several weeks have spent a lot of time visiting the border to assess the conditions there.”
“The President has a very good sense of what’s happening on the border,” Earnest said. “He’s getting regular updates from his officials who have traveled to that region.”
Earnest said Obama wants “regular reports about what they’re seeing on the border and how resources that are being devoted to processing those who have appeared at the border are being used to effectively administrate justice” and is “well aware of that process and how it’s going.”
All of which begs several questions: If President Bush was accused of not caring about black people during Katrina, why isn’t President Obama being accused of not caring about brown people during this humanitarian crisis at the border? After all, it’s not like he won’t already be in the area. This would not only more accurately inform his opinion of the situation, but would also be a wonderful opportunity for exhausted workers trying to manage the disaster to have the President of the United States personally lend support and leadership. Doesn’t the president care about them?
Further, if Josh Earnest believes it’s good enough for President Obama to get “regular updates” from his officials who have seen it firsthand, why wouldn’t that have been good enough for President Bush?
And, considering his administration has recently requested $2 billion dollars to respond to the flood of immigrants illegally entering the U.S. through the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas (not necessarily to secure the border)…, you would think a firsthand look and assessment would be the fiscally prudent thing to do.
Oops! Scratch that $2 billion amount:
The Obama administration is expected to provide details Tuesday on a new budget request designed in part to cope with the massive increase in illegal border crossings by migrants from Central America.
While not proving details of the request, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the budget supplemental request is “related to our efforts to add additional resources to the border.”
The request is expected to top $2 billion.
Note, that none of this addresses actually securing the border…
All of this leads one to believe that our president wants to avoid confrontations with and protests from frustrated and angry citizens demanding answers that have not been forthcoming, including, but not limited to, when will the borders be secured and when will the illegal detainees be sent back. Talk about some bad optics.
UPDATE: Apparently, the feds are now reaching out to local lawmakers for available facilities to house the illegal children detainees:
The initial request comes from FEMA and was sent out by the White House Office Of Intergovernmental Affairs.
The internal email was acquired by KFI News and shows a request for emergency shelter options in states and communities throughout the US. It then lists a special email to send any suggestions.
An attachment outlines specific requirements for shelters- facilities must be within 50 miles of a major city and airport, able to be fenced in and available for lease.
It lists suggestions for the types of facilities preferred. They include office spaces, warehouses, big box stores, hotel or dorms, aircraft hangars and shopping malls.
The email can be viewed here.
UPDATE 2: As discussed in the post, the president is
avoiding not planning to visit the border this week while he is in Texas. Instead, he will visit the home of Austin-based filmmaker Robert Rodriguez for one of three scheduled fundraisers. The cost of a ticket? $5,000 to $32,400. And there’s some bitter irony with regard to some of the attending guests, actors Jessica Alba and Danny Trejo:
Both Trejo and Alba star in Rodriguez’s ultra-violent Machete franchise. The first film in the series demonized a politician (Robert De Niro) who sought tight border control as well as a Minuteman-style American who delighted in shooting a pregnant Mexican woman.
Alba’s character, a champion for immigrants’ rights, utters the following line in the first Machete feature:
“We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”