WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry is calling for drones to be used along the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to deter immigrants from illegally crossing into the U.S.
“So the issue is, this president understands now that we have a huge problem on our southern border. We have to deal with it,” Perry told ABC News. “And I don’t think you’re going to be able to address it until you put the resources there, and that’s boots on the ground. We’re asking for the FAA to allow for drones to be used.”
More than 50,000 unaccompanied minors have been caught on the U.S.-Mexico border this year. Most are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, where a spike in violence and poverty are prompting parents to send their children on difficult and dangerous journeys north.
Perry pointed the blame at President Barack Obama, calling it a “failure of leadership from the administration.”
“The federal government is just absolutely failing. We either have an incredibly inept administration, or they’re in on this somehow or another,” Perry told ABC News. “I mean I hate to be conspiratorial, but I mean how do you move that many people from Central America across Mexico and then into the United States without there being a fairly coordinated effort?”
Perry stated that he personally warned the White House years ago about a potential border crisis.
“We have been bringing to the attention of President Obama and his administration since 2010,” Perry detailed to ABC News. “… Unless we secure our southern border, this is going to continue to be a massive amount of individuals that are coming to the United States. And, frankly, we don’t have a place to house them as it is. And if we have a major event, a hurricane that comes in to the Gulf Coast, I don’t have a place to be housing people who are displaced.”
Perry also claimed that Obama doesn’t care whether or not the border is secure.
“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,” Perry told ABC News.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Sunday the administration has dramatically sped up the processing of adults who enter the country illegally, and it is opening more detention facilities. He acknowledged that the unaccompanied children from Central America, some 9,700 taken into custody in May alone, pose the most vexing problem.
All persons, regardless of age, face “a deportation proceeding” if they are caught entering the country illegally, Johnson said. The administration, he said, is “looking at ways to create additional options for dealing with the children in particular, consistent with our laws and our values.”
Repeatedly pressed to say whether thousands of Central American children will be deported promptly, Johnson said, “we need to find more efficient, effective ways to turn this tide around generally, and we’ve already begun to do that.”
On June 18, Perry announced that the state would steer another $1.3 million per week to the Department of Public Safety to assist in border security through at least the end of the year. He followed that two days later with a letter inviting Obama to see the crisis firsthand.
The White House had earlier asked Congress for $1.4 billion to help house, feed and transport the unaccompanied children, and on June 2, Obama called it an “urgent humanitarian situation,” putting FEMA in charge of coordinating the response.
The issue of unaccompanied children began drawing national attention in late May with the logjam it created in Border Patrol stations, but the number of immigrant children housed in government shelters had doubled in 2012, nearly doubled again in 2013 and is on pace to double again this year.
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