President Obama on Wednesday again criticized Congress’ approach to immigration issues in a speech about the border crisis and addressed calls for him to visit the border.
“I’m not interested in photo-ops. I’m interested in solving a problem,” Obama said when asked about his decision not to take a trip to the border.
He noted that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has been to the border multiple times.
“There’s nothing that’s taking place down there that I’m not intimately aware of or briefed on,” Obama said.
During his speech, Obama railed against House Republicans for failing to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. He noted that this problem could have been addressed more easily had Congress passed comprehensive legislation.
In his last speech on immigration, Obama slammed Republicans for not passing a “darn” bill.
On Wednesday, Obama said that the solution to the current crisis at the border is up to Congress, now that he requested $3.7 billion in aid to address the situation.
“Is Congress prepared to act to put the resources in place to get this done?” he asked. “If the preference is for politics then it won’t be solved.”
Obama lamented how easily issues fall victim to partisan bickering.
“If I sponsored a bill declaring apple pie American, it might fall victim to partisan politics,” he said.
He mentioned House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) decision to sue him over his use of executive actions. Obama challenged the House to act on this immigration issue before he needed to use executive authority.
“Here’s a good test case,” he said. “Don’t wait for me to take executive actions.”
President Obama also addressed his meeting with Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), which Obama characterized as “constructive.”
Obama said that Perry didn’t suggest any actions that Obama had “a philosophical objection to.” The President said he asked Perry to urge the Texas Congressional delegation to support the supplemental money he asked for to address the border crisis.