News / USA

White House Bemoans Lawmakers' Delay on Border Crisis Funds

U.S. President Barack Obama disembarks from Air Force One as he arrives at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, July 23, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama disembarks from Air Force One as he arrives at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, July 23, 2014.
Reuters

White House officials expressed growing alarm on Thursday that Congress may not soon approve President Barack Obama's emergency request for $3.7 billion to tackle the child migration crisis on the southern border of the United States.

The stalemate over the request comes as Obama prepares on Friday to host the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the countries that have been the source of much of the migrant surge that has strained border resources.

Congress is locked in a largely partisan fight over the money that Obama says is needed to provide humanitarian needs of the children and speed deportations for many after they get a hearing from immigration authorities.

Speaker of the House John Boehner talks with reporters about the border crisis, veterans' health care, and future funding, on Capitol Hill, July 24, 2014.Speaker of the House John Boehner talks with reporters about the border crisis, veterans' health care, and future funding, on Capitol Hill, July 24, 2014.
x
Speaker of the House John Boehner talks with reporters about the border crisis, veterans' health care, and future funding, on Capitol Hill, July 24, 2014.
Speaker of the House John Boehner talks with reporters about the border crisis, veterans' health care, and future funding, on Capitol Hill, July 24, 2014.

Republicans want Congress to amend a 2008 anti-trafficking law to accelerate deportations, but Democrats are opposed out of concern the children would face the same conditions of crime and poverty when returned home. Senate Democrats have proposed cutting Obama's $3.7 billion request, while Republicans have said $1.5 billion is the most they would want to spend.

Congress is preparing to start a five-week break at the end of next week and there is no compromise in sight.

“The notion that Congress would go home for August recess without having addressed this question ... would be pretty extraordinary,” a senior White House official told reporters.

While White House officials complain about Congress, they are making a case that the number of child migrants has begun to slow. Still, the surge of tens of thousands of children, many with their mothers, has turned into a political nightmare for Obama, who is considering a variety of steps.

One idea being weighed is a plan to screen thousands of youths in Honduras to see if they can qualify as refugees or on an emergency humanitarian basis without having to make the perilous journey to the United States.

The senior White House official said this plan is one of many under consideration but that it is “way premature” to say it is a serious proposal.

Obama's meeting with the Central American leaders gives him the opportunity to urge them to seek ways to stem the flow of people from their countries. Honduran President Juan Hernandez said on Thursday that U.S. lawmakers' inability to reach an agreement on immigration policy is at least partly to blame for the crisis.

U.S. officials blame human smugglers for misinformation by telling parents their children would be given safe haven in the United States if they send them there.

A senior White House official said Obama will seek the leaders' help in countering that message with one that the children more than likely will be sent back home.

“We have had some success but this is not something that you can just do for a couple of weeks and then turn it off. We're going to need a fairly sustained effort on their part working with us,” the official said.

Part of the emergency funding request, about $300 million, would be allocated toward helping the countries create more favorable conditions at home so people are not tempted to leave.

But there has been little apparent progress in Congress toward a border funding bill that Democrats and Republicans could agree upon.

“It's time for the White  House to get their act together. Do they want to change the '08 law and address the real underlying problem here or don't they,” House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner told reporters.

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid