The White House has reached out to Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry about the possibility of a meeting on the burgeoning U.S.-Mexico border crisis, after Perry had snubbed the White House’s offer for Perry to greet Obama when he lands at Austin’s airport on Wednesday.
“The president would welcome a meeting with you while he is in Texas,” White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett wrote in the letter to Perry, sent Monday evening. “In addition, he asked me to invite you to join him for a meeting to discuss the situation on the border with faith leaders and local elected officials in Dallas on Wednesday.”
In a letter sent earlier Monday, Perry had rejected the White House’s offer of an airport handshake and instead requested a private, “substantive meeting” with the president. Prior to the White House’s letter, it had not publicly announced the meeting in Dallas.
A spokeswoman for Perry told Business Insider he accepted the White House invitation.
“Gov. Perry is pleased that President Obama has accepted his invitation to discuss the humanitarian and national security crises along our southern border, and he looks forward to meeting with the president tomorrow,” said Lucy Nashed, the spokeswoman.
Perry has been especially critical of Obama’s handling of the border crisis, even suggesting Obama might be involved somehow in coordinating the surge of immigrants flooding across the border.
Obama administration officials said last month that, as of June 15, 52,000 unaccompanied children from Central America have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border this year. In addition, border officials have taken into custody 39,000 more adults with children as of May 31.
Hundreds are coming over the border every day, mostly making their way from violence-stricken areas in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The causes for the influx are many, but a large portion are children fleeing increased drug and gang violence.
Obama will spend two days this week in Texas, where he will participate in fundraisers for Democratic fundraisers and a speech on the economy in Austin.
Jarrett stressed in her letter to Perry that the White House was employing a “whole-of government response” to address the humanitarian crisis along the border. She listed off bullet points of the focus of Obama’s coming $US2 billion request to Congress to bolster efforts to stabilise the situation.
“The president hopes you will join him in urging Congress to quickly pass the emergency funding to deal with the current situation at the border,” Jarrett wrote.
This post was updated at 12:07 p.m. ET with Perry’s response.