House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is pushing President Barack Obama to strengthen U.S. border enforcement as part of his overall plan to protect U.S. security interests in fight against the Islamic State.
Boehner and other congressional leaders met with Obama in the White House Tuesday, and afterwards, a House GOP aide said Boehner pushed the idea of border enforcement at that meeting.
"The Speaker made clear that the administration should re-examine our border and homeland policies and authorities to determine whether there are loopholes or weaknesses that could expose the homeland to an immediate ISIL-linked attack," he said, using one of the acronyms used for the Islamic State.
Concern about an Islamic State attack within U.S. borders has been growing over the past few weeks. The apprehension of thousands of illegal immigrants in Texas is one of the reasons, as the flood of immigrants shows how potentially easy it could be for Islamic State fighters to make their way across.
The Obama administration itself has warned that Islamic State has the potential to attack. This week's anniversary of the 9/11 attacks against the U.S. is another factor that has led to heightened security fears.
Obama was expected to outline is plans for dealing with the Islamic State in a Wednesday night address to the nation. As of Wednesday morning, it wasn't clear whether Obama would propose a strategy for enhancing U.S. border security.
Obama does appear ready to announce increased airstrikes against the terrorist group in Syria, and efforts to boost Iraqi Security Forces as they fight the Islamic State in Iraq. Obama is also expected to announce an effort to arm and train Syrian forces that are opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a step that may require or be backed by formal congressional authorization.
The GOP aide said Boehner told Obama that he would support these efforts, and said Boehner called for a serious plan that allows the U.S. to fight the group directly.
"The Speaker made it clear that ISIL is preparing to fight us, and that as we learned in Syria, the longer we wait, the more difficult our choices become," the aide said. "It is in the best interests of the United States and our allies to put in place a strategy that rises to the challenge of the threat we face, and takes the fight directly to ISIL in a decisive fashion."