President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans are at odds over how to stem the flow of unaccompanied minors crossing the Southwest border.
Obama is requesting $3.7 billion in emergency funds from Congress to address the influx of unaccompanied minors coming to the United States from Central America. The funds would be used to detain and care for unaccompanied minors and adults with children, enhance border security and hire additional immigration court judges and attorneys.
But Republicans in Congress are rejecting the presidents request, saying it is too costly and it needs to include more border security measures. Theyre also insisting that they wont give Obama a blank check. Instead, theyre proposing their own ideas on how to handle the unaccompanied minors crisis.
Here are some of their ideas:
Amend the anti-trafficking law
Signed into law in December 2008 by former President George W. Bush, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act essentially makes it more difficult for unaccompanied minors from countries other than Mexico or Canada to be deported.
Under the law, all unaccompanied and undocumented children apprehended at the border from outside North America are turned over within 72 hours to the Department of Health and Human Services, instead of being immediately deported. HHS officials provide care and housing, as well as legal counsel to find ways to reunite the minors with their families or to see if they qualify for immigration relief.
Some Republicans want to amend the law to treat unaccompanied minors from Central American countries as they do those from Mexico and Canada. They argue this would help expedite the removal of unaccompanied minors.
Send troops to the border
House Speaker John Boehner is leading the charge in calling for National Guard troops to be sent to the Texas border to both deal with the needs of these children, and relieve the border patrol.
The National Guard is uniquely qualified to respond to such humanitarian crises, Boehner said in a letter to Obama. They are able to help deal with both the needs of these children and families as well as relieve the border patrol to focus on their primary duty of securing our border.
During his visit to Texas last week, Obama said he and his administration were happy to consider how we could deploy National Guard down there. However, he warned that sending troops to the border would only be a temporary solution and called on members of Congress to approve his request for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to deal with the unaccompanied minors crisis.
Secure the border
Republicans say very little of Obamas $3.7 billion request goes toward ramping up border security to prevent more unaccompanied minors from coming into the U.S. As a result, they are pushing for a bill introduced by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul that would ramp up border security.
The bill was passed unanimously out of the House Homeland Security Committee last year. It calls on the Department of Homeland Security to develop a plan to achieve operational control of the border, which is defined as stopping at least 90 percent of illegal border crossings. Republicans want the bill approved before the August recess.
Four percent of the presidents supplemental budget deals with border security, McCaul told Fox News Sunday, making the case for his bill. We think more should be allocated towards that.
Send them back
Republicans, like Sen. John McCain of Arizona, say the best way to stem the flow of unaccompanied minors crossing the border to come to the U.S. is by sending them back to their home countries.
There has to be a halt to this, McCain said Sunday on CNNs State of the Union, referring to the influx of unaccompanied minors. The best way to do that is for planeloads of these young people to be returning to the country of origin.
By doing that, he said, the childrens families whove spent as much as a years salary paying coyotes to bring their children to the U.S. will not be able to get their money back. As soon as they (parents) see their money is not effective in getting their kids to this country, then it will stop, he said.