Texas Dem: Border Security About Stopping Illegal Goods, Not People

A Texas Democrat says border security isn't about stopping people from coming across the border, but stopping drug traffickers and the like.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), whose district encompasses a chunk of Dallas, told MSNBC that Gov. Rick Perry was off-base on his assessment of the current crisis in which thousands of unaccompanied children originating from Central America have flooded across the southern border.

"What has to be addressed is the security of the border. You know that, I know that, the president of the United States knows that. I don't believe he particularly cares whether or not the border of the United States is secure," Perry said. "When I have written a letter that is dated May of 2012, and I have yet to have a response from this administration, I will tell you they either are inept or don't care and that is my position."

Johnson retorted that "we could talk about homeland security, but I think our borders are fairly secure."

"But when you look up and see loads of children unaccompanied approaching the border, it is not a matter of that type of security. When we talk about security, we are trying to keep out elements of illegal trafficking of goods. And this could be considered that, but these are human beings," she said.

"And it is clear that we need to find out who's bringing the children, who's making the money. They are not coming here out of the blue sky. It is clear it's an arrangement. And they are looking for relief. And I don't know if the relief is in this country or not. Someone had to give permission for these young people to come. It had to be with their parents. I don't know if their parents are here and paid for them to come or whether the parents intend to follow them or even be with them."

Johnson said as we "analyze what we're dealing with," we've "got to find some place to house these young people, because they certainly didn't do it on their own."

The congresswoman added there needs to be "more exploration to see if the parents are already here and sending for the children or whether the children are escaping some violence or mistreatment. I think it's not a simple issue."

"This country has always been a magnet for immigrants and it continues to be. And we have to deal with that. This country is made up of immigrants. And all of us had to come from somewhere," Johnson continued. "And so, I'm not saying we open our borders, but I do think it takes time to analyze this influx. This was planned. You don't get four and five thousand children landing, coming to this country that's coming from Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador, which means they've traveled through more than one country to get here. They didn't do this alone."

Johnson added that she doesn't think President Obama should make a visit down to the border to see the situation for himself.

"I think that he has people in place to take care of that situation. There have been leaders from all over the Congress to visit the border. Homeland Security has been there. What would be the point in the president going?" she said.

"I think maybe if he desires to go see it, fine. But he doesn't have to go there to see it. He is scheduled to do a business stop at Dallas and one in Austin within Texas on Wednesday and Thursday. If he chooses to go, I think it's fine. But I don't think he needs to go and get information."