- The Washington Times - Monday, June 23, 2014

Michael S. Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, chided his party Monday to “stop playing political football” with the thousands of illegal immigrant children flooding across the border.

“The Republican Party has to realize that there is a compassion that we must show for what is happening to the people that goes beyond protecting the border,” Mr. Steele said on the MSNBC show “Ronan Farrow Daily.”

He said “everyone knows” about Republicans calling on President Obama to secure the border before undertaking other reforms to immigration law, such granting green cards to illegal aliens currently living in the U.S. or putting them on a path to citizenship.

“We got that. We understand that issue,” said Mr. Steele, who was ousted as RNC chairman in 2011 after a two-year tenure marred by infighting, scandal and debt.

The Obama administration is struggling to find communities willing to host temporary housing for the children.

Mr. Steele singled out for criticism Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the state’s Sen. Ted Cruz, both Republicans who are eyeing a 2016 presidential run.

“It would be very helpful if Ted Cruz and Governor Perry in particular came out in support of the solution here,” he said. “It is a humanitarian crisis as the president, I think, rightly noted and it is one the United States has to deal with.”