With the flood of unaccompanied minors from Central America overwhelming resources available to deal with them President Barack Obama asked Congress last week to approve an emergency appropriation of $3.7 billion to add immigration judges and expand detention facilities as well as increased surveillance on the border.
It would seem to be a perfectly rational attempt to satisfy the calls from Congressional Republicans to speed the process up. Republicans didn’t agree however, saying that they are unwilling to spend any more money until the president begins to “enforce the law.”
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday said that the influx of these children had to be stopped before he would consider spending any more money to deal with the problem.
“The best way to do that is for planeloads of these young people to be returning to the country of origin. As soon as they (parents) see their money is not effective in getting their kids to this country, it will stop.”
Senator McCain must surely be aware that the president is enforcing the law, one which passed unanimously in 2008 which says that Obama cannot do what McCain is suggesting. These children must be given shelter, sustenance and medical care until they can be given a hearing in immigration court, they cannot legally be loaded onto a plane and summarily returned to their homeland.
The number of children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador arriving at the border since October of last year is double what it was in the same period the previous year, this is what has created this backlog of cases and without more resources to deal with the increase the time needed to deal with each case will remain longer.
Immigration officials have said the the increased numbers are being driven by a combination of factors including poverty, gang violence and rumors being spread by smugglers that those who reach the U.S. will be allowed to stay.
Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX) who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee said that the president is asking for too much, and said on Fox News Sunday:
“We’re not going to write a blank check for over $4 billion.”
He did express support for the president’s request that the 2008 law be modified allowing more leeway in dealing with these children and said that he hopes the House will act to make those changes soon.
Representative Joaquin Castro (D-TX) objected to modification of that law on Meet the Press Sunday.
“That 2008 law, passed under George W. Bush, was passed for a reason,” he said. “Many people believe that these kids should have a chance to make their case for asylum. So I think we’ve got to be careful when we consider completely doing away with that law.”
It does not appear likely that the president will get the requested resources to deal with this problem any time soon as he continues to enforce existing law while Congressional Republicans refuse to assist him in any way “until he begins to enforce existing laws.”
h/t: Huffington Post