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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.