The topic that everyone had an opinion about on the Sunday shows this week? U.S. immigration policy. Here's a roundup of what all the guests had to say.
The Republican governor from Texas met with President Obama this week to discuss border policy. The meet-and-greet didn't preclude Perry from trashing the White House's stance on undocumented immigrants — especially the tens of thousands of children coming from Central America, which he called "a problem of monumental humanitarian impact."
"Well, I think there's plenty of blame to spread around from this perspective," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation," "but when you're the president of the United States, you are at the tip of the sphere, so to speak."
"I gave the president a head's up on what was happening with these unaccompanied children," Perry said, "these alien children who were coming in on the tops of trains. And we laid out exactly what we thought was going to happen if we didn't address that, and now we're seeing that become reality with literally tens of thousands of these young children, making this long, arduous, very dangerous trip, being separated from their parents, and it could have been stopped years ago, had the administration listened, had the administration been focused on the border with Texas."
Perry made similar comments on "Fox News Sunday," saying that if the United States wants to “stanch this flow, you do not have to have a change in law." He did not offer support for Obama's $3.7 billion emergency funding request, saying that funding for additional National Guard troops should be a priority. “They need to be right on the river,” he said. “They need to be there as a show of force because that’s the message that gets sent back very quickly back to central America.”
The senator from Arizona provided another Republican view about the U.S.-Mexico border.
CNN host Candy Crowley asked McCain what it would take for Republicans to support President Obama's request for $3.7 billion in emergency funding. "There has to be a halt to this," McCain said. "The best way to do that," he continued, is by returning these children to their home country — repeating a Republican refrain that has been heard many times in the past week. Not only would this stop the influx of unaccompanied minors, according to the senator, it would also dent the drug trade, with smugglers often paid to transport these children to the border.
"As soon as they see that their money is not effective in getting their kids to this country, it will stop — and not before."
"We cannot have an unending flow of children from all over the world, much less Central America, into our country," he ended.
The Democratic congressman from Illinois blasted the Republican opposition in the House for its stance on immigration. His sharpest words were reserved for Rep. Louie Gohmert (Tex.), one of the strongest proponents of an immigration policy that reliant on increased deportation. Gohmert, Gutierrez said, “hasn’t ever seen an immigrant that he hasn’t thought wasn’t bringing disease to this country.”
Gutierrez also said that Perry is "just wrong" on the issue of the president's interest in solving this crisis. "He kept repeating 'the border, the border, the border,' and he wants to put more National Guardsmen in, and if he put more National Guardsmen in, the children wouldn't come. The children come... fleeing violence and torture, murder and rape. And so, they're going to continue to come as long as those conditions exist and we don't fix our broken immigration system."
However, Gutierrez did say, "I think the president should have gone down [to the border], stated what the law is."
He went on, "We spend $18 billion a year on making sure that the federal government has immigrant enforcement agents. That's more than DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] and the ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] and the FBI and all the other enforcements combined. But we still have a problem, right? So you can keep throwing money and talk about enforcement, enforcement, enforcement, but you've got to put money also into your judicial system, and you've got to put money in a comprehensive program that deals with the issue."
The Republican House Intelligence Committee chairman stressed the bipartisan support for deporting undocumented children to their home country and the dangers of "encouraging" children to try to get to the United States through the "criminal pipeline." "We're losing these kids along the way," he said. He pushed the president to provide immediate relief for this problem, with Congress working out a long-term solution.
The Texas representative and Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee was on "Fox News Sunday" to discuss what the House GOP members have planned next policy-wise. “Our view, I think, as House Republicans, is look, we’re not going to write a blank check for $4 billion,” he said.
"It's going to be a more targeted approach, probably through the end of the fiscal year."
Speaking of the children from Central America, he said, "they're caught in the middle between the administration's policies and what the drug traffickers are doing in Central America. So, they have this perilous, dangerous journey through Mexico where they're exploited, abused, raped and, in some cases, don't make it at all. We think if we change this law as a message of deterrence, we can actually protect and save these children."
He ended his interview on a similar note. "I think we have to deal with this in a humane and compassionate way, but I'm not in favor of building large warehouses in the United States to warehouse these kids," McCaul said. "I think we need to have a deterrent. And I think if we're going to build facilities, perhaps we should think about doing that in the countries of origin in Central America, where they can better deal with these children."
The Democratic representative from Texas — yes, Texans near the border were consulted quite a bit this morning on their immigration expertise — went on "Meet the Press" to offer his perspective.
"The administration has been trying to work with Congress to pass an immigration reform bill for over two years," Castro said, "and so it's been folks in Congress, specifically in the House of Representatives, who've not moved forward on a bill that would have helped us prevent some of the things we're seeing on the border now."
He also discussed his position on undocumented children and deportation. "Many people believe that these kids should have a chance to make their case for asylum, so I think we've got to be careful when we consider completely doing away with that law." The law he is referring to is a 2008 law signed by President George W. Bush, which puts undocumented children under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services. McCaul also wanted Congress to return to the 2008 law — but to expand the United States' ability to deport children from Central America. The 2008 law made it easier for Border Patrol agents to expedite deportation of undocumented immigrants from Mexico.
Castro also said that the fate of children — and whether they should be deported — should be decided by immigration judges, not the president or Congress.
This debate, he says, "also raises the question of who we consider to be a refugee in America in the 21st century. And that's a very tough question for us, and it tugs at our conscience."
He ended his interview by saying that this was not Obama's Katrina moment, and that we would likely see the president head down to the border soon.
Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Beto O'Rourke (D-Tex.) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.)
During a roundtable on CNN's "State of the Union," the four representatives clashed on immigration reform.