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White House offers Texas Gov. Rick Perry a meeting with Obama on immigration

Texas Gov. Rick Perry turned down offer of a "quick handshake" with President Obama at the airport.
By Frances Burns   |   July 8, 2014 at 11:56 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, July 8 (UPI) -- The White House has responded to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's refusal of a "quick handshake" with President Obama by inviting him to a discussion on immigration.

Perry, a possible Republican presidential candidate who has accused Obama of coordinating a surge in border crossings, turned down an invitation for an airport meeting during the president's visit on Wednesday and Thursday.

"I appreciate the offer to greet you at Austin-Bergstrom Airport, but a quick handshake on the tarmac will not allow for a thoughtful discussion regarding the humanitarian and national security crises enveloping the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas," Perry said. "I would instead offer to meet with you at any time during your visit to Texas for a substantive meeting to discuss this critical issue. With the appropriate notice, I am willing to change my schedule to facilitate this request."

Valerie Jarrett, a senior presidential advisor, responded with a letter inviting Perry to a meeting Wednesday with religious leaders and local officials in Dallas.

"As you know, the administration continues to address this urgent humanitarian situation with a whole-of-government response on both sides of the border," she said.

During an appearance Sunday on ABC's This Week, Perry blamed Obama for failing to secure the border with Mexico, accusing him of either incompetence or an "ulterior motive."

Obama is visiting Austin and Dallas for fundraisers and a speech on the economy.

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