News / USA

    Obama to Seek $2 Billion to Curb Influx of Child Immigrants

    A migrant child chooses clothing at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church temporary migrant shelter in McAllen, Texas, June 27, 2014.
    A migrant child chooses clothing at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church temporary migrant shelter in McAllen, Texas, June 27, 2014.
    VOA News

    President Barack Obama is seeking $2 billion in emergency funds to curb the influx of women and children fleeing Central America and illegally entering the United States.

    In addition, Obama will seek greater authority for U.S. immigration officials to speed up the deportation of children caught crossing from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the official said.

    The request will mark a dramatic increase in Obama's attempt to gain control of a chaotic scene on the U.S. border with Mexico where tens of thousands of children have crossed without their parents, straining resources and creating a political and humanitarian crisis.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi visited a Border Patrol facility in Brownsville on Saturday that held unaccompanied children.

    A general view shows the Sacred Heart Catholic Church temporary migrant shelter in McAllen, Texas, June 27, 2014.A general view shows the Sacred Heart Catholic Church temporary migrant shelter in McAllen, Texas, June 27, 2014.
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    A general view shows the Sacred Heart Catholic Church temporary migrant shelter in McAllen, Texas, June 27, 2014.
    A general view shows the Sacred Heart Catholic Church temporary migrant shelter in McAllen, Texas, June 27, 2014.

    Pelosi said the U.S. must deal responsibly with the influx of children. "We have a moral responsibility to address this in a dignified way."

    Child immigrants

    More than 52,000 unaccompanied children and 39,000 women and children from Central America have been apprehended entering the U.S. illegally since October.

    Obama plans to make the requests of Congress in a letter to be sent Monday, a White House official said.

    Details of the emergency appropriation, including the exact amount and how it would be spent, will come after lawmakers return from their holiday recess on July 7, the official said.

    Obama will also ask Congress to increase penalties for the so-called "coyotes" who smuggle children across the border and profit from it, the official said.

    The official said Obama will also request a "sustained border security surge through enhanced domestic enforcement," along with an increase in immigration judges to more speedily adjudicate the cases of recent border crossers.

    Obama will step up efforts with Central American countries to repatriate migrants who are returned to their home countries and address the root causes of migration.

    And, the official said, he will seek "the resources necessary to appropriately detain, process and care for children and adults."

    In an ABC interview last week Obama urged Central American parents not to let their children leave on a frequently hazardous trip to the United States, but his words have so far had little impact.

    Immigration reform

    In Brownsville, Pelosi said she holds little hope that Congress will pass comprehensive immigration reform this year but that politics should be set aside.

    "A few days ago I would have been more optimistic about comprehensive immigration reform," Pelosi said. "I thought that we had been finding a way because we have been very patient and respectful of [Speaker of the House John Boehner] trying to do it one way or another. I don't think he gives us much reason to be hopeful now, but we never give up. There's still the month of July."

    Congressional Republicans have expressed outrage at the Obama administration's handling of the crisis, accusing the government of letting the children into the country to pile pressure on Congress to approve a long-stalled immigration overhaul.

    This past week, a leading House supporter of policy changes said legislative efforts on the issue were dead.

    Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, who's been one of the most bullish Democrats about the chances for action, said he had given up.

    Boehner's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.

    Texas inundated

    The Border Patrol in South Texas has been overwhelmed for several months by an influx of unaccompanied children and parents traveling with young children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

    Unlike Mexican immigrants arrested after entering the U.S. illegally, those from Central America cannot be as easily returned to their countries.

    The U.S. had only one family detention center in Pennsylvania, so most adults traveling with young children were released and told to check in with the local immigration office when they arrived at their destination. A new facility for families is being prepared in New Mexico.

    Children who traveled alone, like those visited by Pelosi in Brownsville, are handled differently.

    By law, they must be transferred to the custody of the Health and Human Services Department within 72 hours of their arrest. From there, they are sent into a network of shelters until they can be reunited with family members while awaiting their day in immigration court.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Deb Joling from: oregon
    July 04, 2014 1:20 AM
    Can you imagine how desperate you would be to send unaccompanied children hundreds of miles away, hoping for their better future. We choose jot to even set up refugee camps. Even countries like Tunisia, jordan, chad have refugee camps to rescue the women and children from terrible living conditions. Not the USA though, we have what we have and we sure as hell arent taking care of women and children from poverty stricken drug and war torn countries. Nope we are to law abiding and Christian to help widoes and orphans, send them back and let them die thats WWJD

    by: I WORK FOR BORDER PATROL from: LOCATION
    June 30, 2014 11:18 AM
    People, be it known that this is all MANUFACTURED, by the global elites to bring in the NORTH AMERICAN UNION, merging Mexico, USA, Canada, we, the border patrol are buying bus tickets to anywhere for ANY illegal immigrant. These are FACTS, the borders are wide open, we are told to look the other way. I am quitting, but exposing our SCUM government.

    by: Pascal Molineaux from: Cali, COLOMBIA
    June 29, 2014 7:18 PM
    You reap what you sow. Durung decades the USa has propped, helped, given significant support to ruthless dictators in Central America, has pushed for free trade agreements that push small farmers off their land, allow maquila-like slev working conditions for miserable wages, done little for asic human rights or worker rights in Central America. Now you have increasing flows of desperate people fleeing extreme poverty and violence.... Instead of sealilng borders. militarizing border cntrols and roughly hadling people who have taken incredible rsika and alreadty undergone extreme sufferring to get to the USA, isn't it time to rethink completely the way the USA foments true, sustainable, long-term human development and true democracy in these countries instead of, always defending first and foremoest the private short-term interests of big US corporations? Maybe then people will have agreater inecntive to stay right where they are. Its definitely wirth a try and would show that the USA CAN BE generous!

    by: This Illegal American Lif from: NYC
    June 29, 2014 2:14 PM
    Congress should not give thus president a penny until he seals the borders, and enforce existing immigration laws. If anything, congress should allocate the $2 billion to combat child hunger and poverty here in America.

    It is absolutely ridiculous that this administration continues to squandered billions of tax payers money on illegals. Deport these kids, deport their illegal parents, and seal the borders.

    Americans need to take back our country. Illegal immigration will be the ruin of our society and the ultimate death of our country.
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    June 30, 2014 4:49 AM
    Americans need to take back our country. Illegal immigration will be the ruin of our society and the ultimate death of our country! That's true, because that's exactly what the natives said, 500 years ago! hehe, you know, THE PEOPLE THAT WERE ALREADY HERE!!!!!

    We need to change the words on the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    Change it to the simpler "Get lost, losers!"

    Or, maybe have fun with a catapult, load it with those helpless kids and WEEEEEEEEEEEEE over the border they go!

    I wonder where your ancestors came from, oh yeah, I know, from the land of Hypocrisy! It's capital city is Self Righteous. Do you guys have tourism brouchures?
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    June 30, 2014 12:49 AM
    Do you mean "seal" the boarders similar to how they did during the era of USSR?? That "fence-line" has barbs on both sides...considering the current leadership in the US already is encroaching on our liberty.
    In Response

    by: Robert C from: Florida
    June 29, 2014 8:26 PM
    We need to close our borders completely. Not just those poor kids but the drugs that is deteriorating our society.
    If you can't prove your here legally then you have to go and come back legally.
    If we have no idea who is crossing our borders then why would terrorists not take the same route? Seems to me all of the Mexican criminals would be smart to come over here and wreak havoc plus not being wanted in Mexico because they are here. Not sure what Obama is thinking but this is bad policy.

    I Remember when I was a teen and they were pushing manufacturing jobs overseas because they were so called low paying jobs but really it was about corporations and cheaper labor and lower taxes; even as a dumb teenager I knew that was a bad idea and the rest is history.
    If its smells bad and looks bad it probably is bad. 1. Close the borders. 2. Stop pumping the economy with fake QE because every bubble bursts. 3. Everyone in the country has a national ID card/drivers license, if you don't have one you don't belong here. OK kids---that's my rant.

    In Response

    by: stephen from: colorado
    June 29, 2014 6:53 PM
    Free-up adoption, make it easier to adopt these kids and they will grow up to be productive US citizens. Adoption should be free.

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