President Barack Obama leaves the podium Wednesday after a news conference in Dallas about his meeting discussing the border and immigration with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Obama on Wednesday forcefully defended his decision not to visit the Texas border with Mexico to view a burgeoning humanitarian crisis, saying he’s “not interested in photo ops” and challenging Congress to give him new authority to respond to the situation.

“Nothing has taken place down there that I’m not intimately aware of,” Obama said during the news conference.

His remarks came after a meeting with Perry and local leaders to discuss his administration’s response to an influx of tens of thousands of children, mostly from Central America, who have entered the state illegally.

Obama, under mounting pressure from members of both parties to view the border situation firsthand, said he has been well briefed by his Cabinet aides and called on Congress to quickly approve $3.7 billion in emergency funding to help manage the influx.

Perry, a Republican, has loudly criticized Obama’s border policies in recent days. In their meeting, Perry asked the president to beef up border patrols, deploy Predator drones and National Guard troops, and pursue changes to federal law that would allow the minors to be deported more quickly, according to aides on both sides.

Obama said there was nothing Perry asked for that he had a philosophical objection to and said he had instructed his staff to work with the governor on some of his suggestions. But the president added that “if you ask people what we should be doing, they give suggestions that are already embodied in legislation I’ve sent to Congress.”

— The Washington Post