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Congress to Focus on US Border Crisis

Congress to Focus on US Border Crisisi
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Michael Bowman
July 13, 2014 7:49 PM
Clues could emerge this week whether America’s politically-divided Congress will approve funds requested by President Barack Obama to address a surge of immigrants illegally crossing the southwestern U.S. border. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Obama wants nearly $4 billion to hold and more quickly process tens of thousands of children arriving primarily from Central America, and to boost federal resources at America’s long border with Mexico.
Michael Bowman

Clues could emerge this week whether America’s politically divided Congress will approve funds requested by President Barack Obama to address a surge of immigrants illegally crossing the southwestern U.S. border.

It is a situation everyone agrees is intolerable: unaccompanied minors risking their lives to reach the United States, warehoused in overcrowded detention facilities, and ineligible under current U.S. law for quick deportation to their country of origin.

Virginia Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte said tougher border enforcement must come first.

“We should do targeted appropriations where it is needed to make sure that we are able to detain people and send them back to their country," Goodlatte said.

"Most of the money the president is asking for is to continue the process of further transporting these children - and adults, by the way - further into the United States," he said.

But a security surge at the border alone will not solve the problem, because U.S. law mandates immigration hearings for non-Mexican arrivals.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, “The immigration laws are being enforced, though we are faced with an extraordinary situation where thousands of people, young people especially, are fleeing Central America. 

"Our immigration laws are broken. It is why we need comprehensive immigration reform," Holder added.

Last year, the Senate approved an overhaul of America’s immigration system to boost border enforcement and provide an arduous path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. 

The Republican-led House of Representatives has not voted on the Senate bill or any alternative.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn blamed Obama for the current border crisis.

“There is a powerful incentive for people to travel to the United States. Obviously we understand people who want opportunity, people who are trying to flee violence," Cornyn said.

"But the president has effectively encouraged children and their parents to make this treacherous, life-threatening journey by suggesting he will not enforce the law," he added.

Such criticisms are baseless so long as Congress does nothing, said Democratic Senator Robert Menendez.

“It is easy to say 'No.'  It is far more difficult to be constructive.  And so far what I have heard in response to this crisis is the negativity of ‘No’, the criticism of the president for using executive powers when the Congress fails to act in its own right," Menendez said.

"You cannot have it both ways. This is a moment to call for the greater interest of the nation, [rather] than play the politics I have seen unfold so far," he said.

Time is growing short for action on Obama's funding request. Congress will be in recess from early August through early September.

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by: sam roberts from: texas
August 01, 2014 4:44 PM
we are paying 2.1 billion dollars on the obama phone,what better use than to use that money on the border crisis.a free phone is not an entitlement!


by: David John Francis
July 14, 2014 1:55 PM

The House Democrats are growing progressively more disturbed about GOP voice in revising the 2008 human trafficking law in a deal for approving the President $3.7 billion emergency funding appeal to address the illegal alien crisis at the Mexican/US border. This would place children from Central America, on the same footing as Mexicans and Canadian aliens and be able to accelerate hearings and deportation.

If ICE and Human Services communicated, perhaps also hundreds of millions of aliens living here, could be caught when claiming a child or a number of offspring? Of course the Liberals have no intentions of consenting to these efforts and will fight for passage of what they call a “clean” supplement as without the amendment; as it means more Dem voters in the future years, and hundreds of thousands of early petitions for family members brought into the country, by current policies.

This will accrue even more poverty, more benefits upon the already hard pressed taxpayers who will get the bill. The National Tea Party candidates would never hesitate to amend 2008 law, unlike the OLD GUARD in the establishment. Social Security is already running into trouble, along with Medicare in the future as nothing has been done for three decades to stop this roaring financial locomotive towards unsure losses in the future. Yet Obama is striving to gain headway, on bringing more poor into the country?


by: Maureen Orourke from: Missouri
July 14, 2014 12:58 PM
Saw you on FOX, yes put troops at boarders take the money we send these countries and have them build better schools and neighborhoods get a damn plan. WE CANNOT afford to take care of everyone else, when we can't take care of our own. There shouldn't be One hungry or homeless American. No other country allows people to walk right in. I'm sick of watching the President act stupid and do nothing while he drinks beer and plays pool. And Congress needs to shut up and Actually work. I'm fed up with all their crap
DO SOMETHING, WE DO NOT WANT ANYMORE. ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.


by: Diane Feinstein from: D.C.
July 14, 2014 10:08 AM
VOA, what you say is reprehensible!!! " It is a situation everyone agrees is intolerable: unaccompanied minors risking their lives to reach the United States, warehoused in overcrowded detention facilities, and ineligible under current U.S. law for quick deportation to their country of origin."

They are NOT unaccompanied minors! They are ILLEGAL ALIENS!! STOP PLAYING THE CARD THAT MAKES THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OUT TO BE NAIVE FOOLS!

AND THE BORDER PATROL IS BUYING THEM BUS TICKETS TO WHEREVER THEY WANT TO GO. Why is the Border patrol bullying around Americans 120 miles from the border in Murietta, California?????????????? Answer?, because they are complicit with the local police in aiding and abetting human trafficking into the USA.

WAKE UP AMERICA!!!


by: Dr. Dray from: Austin, TX
July 14, 2014 10:01 AM
While the TSA is perfectly content to let illegal aliens (and by extension potential terrorists) fly without any proper form of ID, American moms like Nicole Moberg are being harassed over their breast milk. On Friday it emerged that the TSA was allowing illegal aliens to fly on commercial airliners inside the U.S. without verifiable identification. As long as the individual was able to produce a Notice to Appear form, they were allowed to board the plane. A TSA spokesperson immediately took to social media to deny the report, claiming media outlet Breitbart had lied about the story. However, the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) obtained a statement from the Border Patrol union which revealed that the TSA had reversed the policy in the aftermath of the Breitbart story.


“TSA employees at Laredo International Airport notified Border Patrol agents last night at 11 p.m. local time that a new policy was in place that would not allow illegal aliens to fly solely using an I-862, otherwise known as the Notice to Appear form. TSA employees stated they will allow illegal aliens who had been released on their own to travel with a foreign passport or ID in addition to an I-862. We’re grateful that TSA has fixed this lapse in security, even if they won’t acknowledge it publicly. Our fear is that those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. In the worst case scenario, our commercial transportation system could have been exploited, as it was by illegal aliens nearly 13 years ago.”

The policy reversal proves that the TSA has once again been caught lying to the American people in an attempt to cover up its malfeasance. This latest scandal arrives months after it was revealed that the federal agency followed a State Department directive to spare members of the Muslim Brotherhood traveling to the US in 2012 a TSA pat down or any kind of secondary screening.

Contrast this with how TSA agents treated working mom Nicole Moberg, who travels five days a week as a sales director for a medical company and has to pump milk for her 7-month-old son while on the road. Traveling through San Diego International Airport, Moberg was subjected to an hour long interrogation and inspection while TSA agents individually screened 50 bags of breast milk which they removed from two one-gallon Ziplock bags. Moberg said an officer told her “if you just put this all in one jug, it would have been fine.” “That makes a lot of sense,” Moberg said sarcastically. “I’m going to go around to my meetings with a jug of milk?” Perhaps Moberg should count herself lucky that she wasn’t forced to drink her own breast milk from all 50 bags to prove that it wasn’t an explosive, a procedure suffered by innumerable other travelers.

The juxtaposition between the two examples points to only one conclusion – that the TSA sees American mothers’ breast milk as a bigger potential terror threat than foreigners boarding planes without having to show identification. Despite the fact that the TSA is supposed to protect America from terrorists, its own policies are now clearly serving to put the country at agreater risk of being hit by a terrorist attack. There can be no greater reason than this to immediately move to shut down a federal agency that is clearly having a detrimental effect on America’s national security.


by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
July 14, 2014 7:38 AM
If we can get them on a plane, we can fly them back to their country of origin. Higher upfront expense, much lower long run expense for the U.S.

After the parents have invested so much in doing this dangerous, illegal act, provide proof that they wasted their time, efforts, and money. Things will then turn around. Make it so...


by: james from: Lafayette Ca.
July 13, 2014 8:05 PM
Since we financially support half the worlds governments, why not deduct the cost of dealing with citizens from whichever government that are in the U.S. illegally, from that support!


by: Robert Webb from: Oklahoma City
July 13, 2014 7:57 PM
Our border with Mexico has always been a sieve. How is Obama to blame for what is a hundred years old or more? Republicans always: a) dry up the money in crisis; b) refuse to act or block effective legislation; c) blame someone else. Republicans believe we're too dumb to see through their smoke and mirror rhetoric.


by: Psyllicon Phillips
July 13, 2014 7:50 PM
In the 'greater interest of the nation' there is no excuse for ignorance or Political games. And frankly speaking, the President and administration have not owned up to their culpability in regard to this invasion.

Yes, there is a great deal of social turmoil in Central America. But that has not changed significantly in the last five years, while the number of illegal immigrants arriving from those countries has increased almost TEN FOLD~

This IS a crisis, and we need to address it as such. The 'Wilberforce' extension signed in 2008 has been thrown out as Red Meat to defend the 'protections' offered to illegal immigrants from non-contiguous nations. Frankly, that seems to constitute a 'separate but equal' approach to justice -- one that is CLEARLY not 'equal'

The Act in question states clearly that it is:
"To authorize appropriations for fiscal years 2008 through 2011 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, to enhance measures to combat trafficking in persons, and for other purposes."

But it quite apparently leans HEAVILY on the 'and for other purposes' clause, since the appropriations ran out five years ago, and the unaccompanied children (and families) are clearly not 'victims' of trafficking.

However, a great number of the children arriving ARE in fact trying to reunite with family members already staying (illegally, in most cases) in the United States. WHY has Congress not 'closed the door' to this form of illegal immigration?


by: Anonymous
July 13, 2014 5:31 PM
Well let's see, with Congress focusing on the border crisis, Rick Perry and Shaun Hannity, in fatigues yet, and however many self appointed, assault rifle packing 'border security guards right there on the front lines and keeping the country safe from 8year old Guatemalan girls everyone can rest easy tonight. We'll, everyone but 8year old Guatemalan girls that is.

In Response

by: EddieBrown from: NYC
July 13, 2014 8:27 PM
Cute comment. However, one must wonder if you have any idea what purpose immigration law serves or why it was developed.

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