Chad’s Morning Brief: Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz Blame Obama for Border Crisis, Wendy Davis Has Thoughts on the Border, and Obama Talks About Working Families, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of June 24, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
Texas Lawmakers Talk Border Crisis
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott blamed the Obama administration for the crisis on the Texas/Mexico border and called for the administration to enforce immigration laws. According to the Texas Tribune, the two men toured Lackland Air Force Base where minors have been since May.
Warning of the dangers faced by undocumented and unaccompanied children crossing the border into the U.S., Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday called on the Obama administration to more strictly enforce immigration laws.
Abbott and Cruz were joined by U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Flower Mound, at a news conference following a tour of Lackland Air Force Base, where several unaccompanied minors are being held in a temporary shelter that has been run by the federal Department of Health and Human Services since May 18.
“It is unacceptable to have children housed in facilities like this,” Abbott said. “Equally unacceptable, though, is to have a president promoting policies that entice children to navigate more than a thousand miles away from home, going through the most treacherous conditions, facing things like human trafficking and sexual assault.”
"If we want to prevent the victimization of children, the president must follow the law," Cruz added.
The Obama administration, which, like Abbott and Cruz, has called the wave of child immigrants a “humanitarian crisis,” has argued that the influx is because of families and children fleeing poverty and gang violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, and because of human smugglers spreading misinformation about U.S. policy to increase their profits.
The federal government has had to employ facilities like Lackland, which has room for up to 1,200 children, to house the surging numbers of undocumented minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without parents. Since Oct. 1, 2013, about 50,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended crossing the border, mostly in the Rio Grande Valley, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection — twice as many as were apprehended in the previous 12 months.
The vast majority of the children come from Central America, not Mexico, so they cannot be easily deported. The government’s policy is to hold the children in shelters until they can be placed with relatives or sponsors in the United States, with instructions to appear in court for a hearing to determine their immigration status.
Meanwhile, Wendy Davis took a little time away from celebrating her one year anniversary of the filibuster where she advocated for easier access to late-term abortion to talk about the border. According to the Texas Tribune, Davis called on Governor Rick Perry to do more.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, has added her name to the list of lawmakers calling for a special legislative session to immediately address the unprecedented number of illegal border crossers into Texas.
In doing so, she joins hardline Republicans who demanded last week that the state’s leadership call lawmakers back to Austin. Following those calls, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Gov. Rick Perry authorized the Department of Public Safety to spend $1.3 million a week to increase border operations.
In a letter to Gov. Rick Perry, Davis suggested that wasn’t enough.
“You took a solid step, which I support, to address that by increasing support to the Department of Public Safety to help along the border,” she wrote. “However, local counties, cities and charitable organizations are also spending already limited resources to meet the basic needs of these individuals and their families.”
Travis Considine, a spokesman for Perry, said Davis had so far been "conspicuous by her absence" on the issue of border security. "If Sen. Davis truly agrees with Gov. Perry that it is the federal government's responsibility to secure the border, she should forward a copy of her letter to her friend and political ally in Washington, President Obama.”
Davis isn't the only one weighing in on the border today. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott held a joint press conference in San Antonio Monday morning on the rising number of unaccompanied minors, and Perry was scheduled to tour a federal facility housing unaccompanied minors on Monday afternoon.
Davis' letter reflects her most vocal stance yet on the border surge. The U.S. Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector has apprehended more undocumented immigrants in the first eight months of the current federal fiscal year (over 160,000) than it did for all of fiscal year 2013.
Davis also suggested that Perry declare a state of emergency, which would allow the state to spend more resources on the border. She also suggested asking the Obama administration to send more federal immigration judges to the border
“To that end, we should call on the Obama administration to provide a sufficient number of judges so that those processed by the border patrol will receive an immediate hearing on their immigration requests and, where appropriate, be repatriated to their native country. Given the scale and scope of this emergency, I believe that this is the best approach, rather than releasing these individuals and their families at the local bus station with a hearing set several months in the future."
Davis addressed the surge again in a news conference Monday afternoon in the Rio Grande Valley — calling Perry's comments in response to her letter "really absurd.”
“I am acting in my role as a senator and calling on him to do what he should have done weeks ago and that is to call us together as a Legislature so that we can appropriate necessary relief funds to local communities who are dealing with a humanitarian crisis," Davis said at a press conference in McAllen following her tour of a U.S. Border Patrol facility.
Obama Talks Paid Family Leave
While the crisis on the Texas/Mexico Border continued, President Obama spent part of his day Monday talking about paid family leave. According to USA Today, Obama called current policies outdated.
President Obama said Monday that the challenges facing working mothers and fathers are all too often "the result of outdated policies and old ways of thinking" that should be changed.
Speaking to a supportive crowd at the White House Summit on Working Families, Obama urged government and businesses to adopt or expand policies for family leave, child care, flexible work hours and an increase in the minimum wage.
"These are not frills," Obama said. "They are basic needs."
Much of the focus of the all-day summit, which brought together business and political leaders, was on women and child care in the workplace.
"Many women can't even get a paid day off to give birth," Obama said. "Now that's a pretty low bar."
There is only one developed country that does not mandate paid maternity leave, Obama said, "and that is us. And that is not the list you want to be on by your lonesome."
Obama, who has made women voters a key part of his political constituency, said, "When women succeed, America succeeds, so there's no such thing as a women's issue. ... There's a family issue and an American issue."
The president criticized Congress for not passing his proposals.
Congressional Republicans said the Democrats have blocked their plans to enact more flexible work hours.
"Senate Republicans have long called for greater flexibility in the workplace, particularly giving private-sector employees the type of voluntary flex time that federal employees in the Obama administration already have available to them," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Other Top Stories:
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