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US House Passes Border Security Bill

  • Cindy Saine

Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio, is surrounded by reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Aug. 1, 2014, after a closed-door meeting of House Republicans to discuss the border crisis.

Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio, is surrounded by reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Aug. 1, 2014, after a closed-door meeting of House Republicans to discuss the border crisis.

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives has approved a $694-million funding bill to secure the U.S southern border and address the humanitarian crisis from an influx of children from Central America.

The Senate, which already left for a five-week recess, is not expected to consider the bill.

Friday’s House vote comes one day after a failed effort to pass a supplemental funding bill in response to an influx of children from Central America.

Republican lawmaker Michele Bachmann, speaking after House Republicans met Friday to make progress on the issue, said the border bills would now do what a core group of conservative Republicans wants. She said it would stop "the invasion of illegal foreign nationals into our country.”

Obama criticized House members for crafting border legislation he said they know will never be taken up in the Senate and that he has said he would veto.

Watch related video report by VOA's Celia Mendoza and Ramon Taylor


A statement late Friday from the White House press secretary said the legislation put forward by the House Republicans "does not responsibly address" the problem of unaccompanied children apprehended at the border. The statement said the proposed legislation could result in the deportation of hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the U.S. as children and are" Americans in every way but on paper."

Republican lawmakers blame the president for contributing to the influx of 57,000 children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras this year, saying his rhetoric about immigration reform has caused confusion, which criminal trafficking gangs have exploited.

Republican Congressman Tom Cole said the right thing to do is to send a clear signal to deter children from making the dangerous journey to America. He said the U.S. needs to stop the flow of illegal immigrants in a humane and appropriate way.

House Democrats took to the floor in large numbers to oppose the border bills, calling them harsh and mean-spirited towards desperate children. Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez said Hispanic voters would remember the way Republicans treated the Central American children for many elections to come:

Analysts say the president will likely have to shift funds to provide food and shelter for the children at the border, and that members of Congress will likely face the border issue again when they return in September.

The president had asked Congress for $3.7 billion to confront the crisis in early July. He wants to increase border security, as well as add more temporary housing and more immigration judges.

The influx of migrant children has created a huge burden on the immigration system, including where to house the migrants and whether there are enough judges to decide who gets asylum and who is deported.

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