Texas governor Rick Perry said on Sunday that Obama-administration immigration authorities are “either inept or don’t care” about the crisis of unaccompanied minor illegal immigrants.
In a combative exchange with host Martha Raddatz on ABC’s This Week, Perry said border guards are stretched too thin in the Lone Star State, and he cited the administration’s “catch-and-release policies” for driving a nearly threefold increase in the number of Central American children arriving at the border without adult guardians.
“What has to be addressed is the security of the border,” Perry said. “You know that; I know that; the president of the United States knows that. I don’t believe he particularly cares whether or not the border of the United States is secure. And that’s the reason there’s been this lack of effort, this lack of focus, this lack of resources.”
Raddatz argued that President Obama is “telling people not to come,” and she blamed a 2008 law signed by former president George W. Bush for the skyrocketing rate of illegal immigration by Central American minors in the last two years. That law governs treatment of illegal arrivals from non-contiguous countries.
“The president has sent powerful messages, time after time, by his policies, by nuances, that it is okay to come to the United States, and you can come across and you will be accepted in open arms,” Perry, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate and potential 2016 hopeful, responded.
Raddatz then accused Perry of positing a “conspiracy” to bring illegals into the United States, but Perry stood his ground, pointing out that he has been warning the administration since 2010 about the potential for a surge and sent Obama a letter about the specific issue of unaccompanied minors in May 2012 — to which the administration never responded.
“I have to believe, that when you do not respond in any way, that you are either inept or you have some ulterior motive that you’re functioning from,” Perry said.