AUSTIN (CBS Houston/AP) — Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst believes that some Mexican government officials are helping immigrant children from Central America illegally cross the U.S. border.
Dewhurst made the comments on “The Sean Hannity Show” Monday.
“Kids that are 6 years old, 10 years old, can’t make it 1,600 miles from Honduras and Guatemala by themselves. The cartels are helping them,” Dewhurst told Hannity. “The cartels, and I’m convinced unfortunately, some in the Mexican government are helping them get into Texas. There’s no way they could make it that far.”
Dewhurst states that there are nearly 1,200 people crossing the border every day, with less than 20 percent of those being unaccompanied children.
“The Obama administration is trying to spin this. The only thing they can do effectively is spin,” Dewhurst said. “So they are trying to spin that this is a humanitarian effort.”
President Barack Obama has requested $3.7 billion from Congress to deal with the border crisis as Gov. Rick Perry is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. Dewhurst said that Texas is stepping up because the federal government has failed the state.
“When the federal government fails to do one of their constitutional duties, then it’s in our DNA down here in Texas … to act independent of the federal government,” Dewhurt said.
The Texas lieutenant governor added that Obama is simply “incapable of doing anything right.”
“He’s incapable of doing that which continues to make America a strong country and protect America,” Dewhurst told Hannity. “He doesn’t really, in his heart, want that. He cannot make a decision, it’s embarrassing.”
More than 57,000 children and other migrants have arrived since October, mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
Advocates and lawmakers said that Obama administration officials are weighing a range of options including reforms to the deportation system and ways to grant relief from deportation to targeted populations in the country, likely by expanding Obama’s two-year-old directive that granted work permits to certain immigrants brought here illegally as youths. That program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, has been extended to more than 500,000 immigrants so far.
Advocates would like to see deferred action made available to anyone who would have been eligible for eventual citizenship under a comprehensive immigration bill the Senate passed last year, which would be around 9 million people. But Obama told them in a meeting a month ago to “right-size” expectations, even as he pledged to be aggressive in steps he does take.
That’s led advocates to focus on other populations Obama might address, including parents or legal guardians of U.S. citizen children (around 3.8 million people as of 2009, according to an analysis by Pew Research’s Hispanic Trends Project) and parents or legal guardians of DACA recipients (perhaps 500,000 to 1 million people, according to the Fair Immigration Reform Movement).
“Our parents deserve to live without the fear of deportation,” Maria Praeli, a 21-year-old from New Haven who came to the United States from Peru 16 years ago, said at a protest outside the White House on Monday. “It is time for the president to go big and to go bold.”
Another focus could be the potentially hundreds of thousands of people who might be eligible for green cards today if current law didn’t require them to leave the country for 10 years before applying for one.
At the same time, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it is actively working to determine whether there are steps Obama could take by executive action that could help the business community.
For Obama, the political repercussions of broad executive action on immigration could be unpredictable, and extreme.
Republicans are warning he could provoke a constitutional crisis.
“It would be an affront to the people of this country which they will never forgive, it would be a permanent stain on your presidency,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said on the Senate floor Monday, while urging language to block such executive action be made part of any legislation to address the border crisis.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., announced plans to use an oversight hearing on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency Tuesday to raise questions about Obama’s plans, which he warned could “worsen the border crisis and encourage many more to come.”
On the other side, some Democrats have debated the best timing for Obama to take executive action, raising questions as to whether acting before the midterms could hurt vulnerable Senate Democrats in close races while boosting turnout among the GOP base.
But liberal advocates noted that Obama’s move on deferred action two years ago gave him a boost heading into his re-election and could help this year with Latino voters discouraged over the failure of immigration reform legislation and record-high deportations on Obama’s watch. Republicans would be in a position of deciding whether to come out in favor of deporting sympathetic groups, such as parents, and many liberals say impeachment talk would only shore up Democratic base voters.
“Most Democrats will be thrilled” if Obama acts boldly on immigration, said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a leading advocacy group. “And Republicans will keep lurching to the right and cementing their reputation as the anti-immigrant party.”