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.
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.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs