In a nearly 10-minute tirade Thursday at a luncheon for Washington D.C.-based political reporters, Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry slammed the Obama administration for its failure to secure the border and warned of a magnified humanitarian crisis if a major hurricane hits the United States.
Prompted by a reporter’s question about the influx of children flowing over the southern border, Perry said the crisis represented a “failure of diplomacy” by the Obama administration and wondered what might happen if a major hurricane hit the U.S. while the country was still housing thousands of undocumented children.
“This unaccompanied alien children issue has the potential to be a absolute catastrophe — a humanitarian catastrophe,” he said.
“We are just going into hurricane season,” he continued. “Were we to have a major event and literally do not have places to house our citizens because of this influx from Mexico — I am greatly concerned the catastrophe that could occur with those two events happening simultaneously.”
Perry said he has been warning the Obama administration for two years about the issue of “unaccompanied alien children.”
“I have been haranguing, bringing to the attention of, flagging issues on that border for multiple years,” Perry said. “You’ll recall I stopped on the tarmac to welcome the president in 2010, gave him a letter about border security. We wrote a letter and drew to his attention and tried to really focus he and his administration, particularly Homeland Security, on this issue of unaccompanied alien children who were coming in on the backs of these trains in 2012.”
“I am deeply frustrated and disappointed in the administration’s response — both directly back to the state of Texas and in their actions,” he went on. “So with that said, yes, I would like for the federal government to pay for what is a clear constitutional responsibility of the federal government, which is to secure the border. We know how to do that.”
Perry used the opportunity to also launch a broader critique of the Obama administration’s immigration policy.
“Over the last six years we have expended upwards of half a billion dollars – 450 plus million dollars — on border security,” he said.
But, Perry explained, the State of Texas doesn’t have the resources to secure its southern border by itself.
“That’s a 1,200 mile border. It is a very vast and inhospitable area that is substantially, if not almost all, private property,” he said. “So the idea that we have this ability to secure the entire border is — I hope you get your arms around that – is very, very broad, hard to do by the State of Texas and the resources, limited resources, we have.”
“Hopefully the American people, through their congressional and senatorial representatives, will impress upon the federal government the importance of them doing their job of securing the border,” he added. “It is the single most important thing they must do.”
Perry went on to say that before even beginning to figure out what to do about the 11 million illegal aliens estimated to be in the country, the federal government first needed to secure the border and reform the Immigration and Nationalization Service.
“My concern is that this government is not committed to securing the border,” Perry lamented.