Leaving so soon? Obama heads to Texas tonight to meet with Gov. Perry

Tom Cohen, CNN

He'll be in Texas on Wednesday, but President Barack Obama has no plans to visit the border area where tens of thousands of young immigrants have illegally entered the country in recent months to create what his administration labels an urgent humanitarian problem.

Department of Homeland Security 

Department of Homeland Security 

The trip to the Lone Star State -- the epicenter of the immigration influx -- includes Democratic Party fundraising events, and after some political squabbling, a meeting with Republican Gov. Rick Perry. That's not enough for GOP critics or even some of Obama's fellow Democrats.

"This is a real crisis and the President needs to treat it as such and I think traveling from Dallas to the border is a 500-mile trip," Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told CNN on Wednesday. "That's not far to go on Air Force One."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a possible GOP presidential nominee in 2016, called the situation similar to the much-disparaged federal response to Hurricane Katrina by the Bush administration.

"For him to go to Texas and spend two days shaking down donors and never even getting near the border mess he helped create would be like flying into New Orleans in the highest waters of Katrina to eat Creole cooking, but never getting near the Ninth Ward, the Superdome, or the Convention Center where thousands languished in squalor," Huckabee said.

In a conference call Tuesday, White House officials repeatedly emphasized that Obama regarded the immigration crisis as "an urgent humanitarian situation." They announced the President is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to better respond to it.

Cecilia Munoz, who is director of Obama's Domestic Policy Council, told CNN that the meeting with Perry and local leaders will focus on the immigrant issue, and that "the whole federal government is all over the situation."

Before traveling to Texas, Obama repeated his complaint of House Republican inaction on Senate-passed immigration reform, telling a Denver fundraiser that Congress "just said 'no' to fixing our broken immigration system in a way that strengthens our borders and our businesses."

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