The border crisis is a no-win situation for Obama. Here’s proof.


Unaccompanied migrant children are shown at a Department of Health and Human Services facility in South Texas in this handout photo courtesy of the office of Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.) taken within the past two weeks and released June 12. (U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar's Office via Reuters)

Democratic Texas Reps. Pete Gallego and Henry Cuellar have more at stake than almost any member of Congress when it comes to the border crisis. That's because the two of them combine to represent about 1,000 miles of the United States-Mexico border — around half of the entire border, in fact.

But when it comes to whether President Obama should come to the border to deal with the situation — something he's not planning to do — they have vastly different views.

Here's Gallego's statement Wednesday: "The president's presence along the border would create an unneeded distraction by diverting law enforcement and other resources at a critical time. We don't need photo ops; we need action. The ball is in Congress' court to do this right."

Gallego represents Texas's 23rd district just east of El Paso, while Cuellar represents the 28th, based in Laredo.
Gallego represents Texas's 23rd district just east of El Paso, while Cuellar represents the 28th, based in Laredo.

Cuellar has a far different take. He took to MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" on Wednesday to implore Obama to visit the border during his visit to Texas this week. And Cuellar didn't ask nicely; instead he criticized Obama for having drinks with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) on Tuesday and suggested that showing up just a few hundred miles from the border without visiting it would be "aloof."

"When he is shown playing pool in Colorado, drinking a beer, and he can't even go 242 miles to the Texas border?" Cuellar said. "Border community leaders want to see him down there on the border. And I think the optics and the substance of it is that he should show up at the border."

Cuellar added: "He either can roll up his sleeves and go down to the border or he can just look aloof and detached and not go to the border."

Two Democrats from Texas representing two neighboring districts each containing hundreds of miles of the border. Two vastly different views of what Obama should do.

In a way, it's a pretty perfect metaphor for the unhappy choices Obama faces when dealing with the influx of young illegal immigrants — many of them from Central America. Basically, anything Obama does will be second-guessed and will irritate lots of people.

Including, apparently, members of his own party with lots of skin in the game.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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