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Posted at 7:53 p.m. on July 9, 2014
President Barack Obama said Wednesday in Texas he’d be “happy to consider” sending the National Guard to the border if that’s what it takes to get the votes from the Texas delegation for his $3.7 billion immigration supplemental.
In a private meeting, Texas Gov. Rick Perry repeatedly urged the president to deploy the National Guard to the border on his own, Obama said. Obama said he would be “happy to consider” doing so if that’s the price of getting the Texas delegation’s support for the emergency spending bill.
Perry suggested Obama should just go ahead and act on his own, the president said.
“I had to remind him I’m getting sued,” Obama said, alluding to Speaker John A. Boehner’s plan to take him to court for his executive actions.
Obama said the National Guard would be a “temporary solution” while saying that Congress could act immediately to solve the problem more permanently by approving his bill. He said they would do so if they put solving the problem above politics.
He said it would pay for many of the things Perry and others are seeking and urged the governor to urge the Texas delegation to get behind it.
“If the Texas delegation is prepared to move, we can get this done next week,” Obama said.
Obama also said that he did not philosophically object to any of Perry’s other suggestions for securing the border and dealing with the crisis, but noted it would take money from Congress.
He dismissed bipartisan criticism of his decision not to visit the border while in Texas.
“This isn’t theater,” Obama said when asked about not going to the border. “I’m not interested in photo ops. I’m interested in solving a problem.”
He also asserted that a comprehensive immigration bill would have prevented the border crisis in the first place, and said that it would have freed up resources now spent trying to “chase” immigrants here illegally for five or 10 years or more.