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After Immigration Meeting Rebuff, Perry Accepts Obama's Invite to Dallas Roundtable

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT and Ben Philpott/KUT
President Obama asked Perry to a roundtable discussion with faith leaders and elected officials in Dallas on Wednesday.

Update: Gov. Perry will meet with President Obama, according to KUT's reporting partner the Texas Tribune. 

“Gov. Perry is pleased that President Obama has accepted his invitation to discuss the humanitarian and national security crises along our southern border, and he looks forward to meeting with the president tomorrow,” Perry spokesman Travis Considine told the Tribune in an email.

Original Post: President Barack Obama has offered to meet Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing influx and detainment of unaccompanied Central American child immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

In a letter addressed to Perry on Tuesday, Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett invited the governor to a meeting in Dallas with faith leaders and elected officials to discuss the "humanitarian crisis." Perry had sent a letter to the president on Monday calling for a substantive meeting on the Rio Grande Valley, and said that he wouldn't settle for a "handshake on the tarmac." 

Last week, Perry testifiedbefore a House of Representatives committee in McAllen, suggesting  a plan to increase National Guard presence and screen immigrants for medical conditions. He also requested a federal reimbursement for some of the $500 million Texas has spent on border security since 2005. 

Jarrett's letter to Perry suggested Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will travel to the border again and assured the governor that the president's administration will "continue to give this urgent situation the focused attention it deserves at the highest levels."

Jarrett said the president will lobby Congress to both increase penalties on those who smuggle migrant children and increase appropriations to Homeland Security for border security, but will "exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied children to non-contiguous countries. 

President Obama will be in Austin on Wednesday night to attend a fundraiser hosted by Austin filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. In addition, the president will speak at the Paramount Theatre on Thursday. 

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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