News / USA

US Political, Religious Leaders Advocate for Border Children

Demonstrators march following a news conference of immigrant families and children's advocates responding to President Barack Obama's position on the crisis of unaccompanied children and families illegally entering the US, in front of the White House in W
Demonstrators march following a news conference of immigrant families and children's advocates responding to President Barack Obama's position on the crisis of unaccompanied children and families illegally entering the US, in front of the White House in W
Cindy Saine

The plight of tens of thousands of Central American children who have crossed over the southwest border into the United States this year continues to be the focus of heated debate in the U.S. Congress.

Republican leaders are expressing frustration with Democratic President Barack Obama for his handling of the crisis. At the same time, a number of religious leaders are calling on the president and lawmakers not to do away with legal protections for the children, many of whom are fleeing violence.  

Obama sparked debate earlier this week when he asked the U.S. Congress for $3.7 billion to deal with the influx of children crossing the U.S. border. Republican House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Thursday afternoon that the house appropriations committee - which oversees spending measures - and a working group of lawmakers focusing on immigration issues are reviewing the proposal, but he added that the Republican-led House will not give the president a “blank check.”  

Boehner reacted angrily to a question about whether Congress might be blamed for a worsening humanitarian crisis if it fails to approve the funds: “This is a problem of the president’s own making. He has been president for five and half years. When is he going to take responsibility for something?”

Texas trip

On a visit to the state of Texas, Obama rejected calls from a number of lawmakers for him to travel to the state's border to visit the holding cites for unaccompanied children. Speaking in Austin, the president blasted House Republicans for not holding a vote on immigration reform legislation, but did not address the crisis of child migrants.

Democratic Minority leader Nancy Pelosi called on the Republican leaders in the House to move quickly to approve the president’s emergency request. She indicated there may be some wrangling, though, between Democrats and Republicans before any agreement is reached.

“Really what is important is to get this supplemental.  What price we have to pay to do that, we will see in the course of the debate,” said Pelosi.

Pelosi was asked if there would likely be changes made to an anti-human trafficking bill signed in 2008 that would make it easier to send Central American children back home. The measure gives children who are not from Canada and Mexico the legal right to stay in the United States until they are assigned a court date to hear their individual case. She said she does not support limiting legal protection for children.

Children’s rights

A number of religious leaders also have called on the president and Congress to leave those legal protections in place in a national teleconference. Mary Small, with the Jesuit Refugee Service, said, “We cannot risk expediting the deportation of children back into the hands of traffickers, smugglers and criminal groups. And we as a nation cannot roll back protections simply because more children are in need of them than we thought.”

Bishop Minerva Carcano of the United Methodist Church in Los Angeles agrees, saying the migrant children already do not have the same rights as American children. “They are not provided with legal representation, and therefore run the risk of being deported without due process. If these children are returned to life jeopardizing circumstances, their possible early death will be on our conscience,” she said.

Speaking with the religious leaders, Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren said she visited holding centers in Texas last week and was deeply troubled by what she saw.

“Many, many young children crowded in jail like holding cells, including toddlers, some in diapers. These children were completely alone, they were sleeping on cement floors,” she said.

Lofgren said older children were taking care of the younger ones. She called on members of Congress to put their differences aside to help the children who have survived the long and dangerous journey from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to reach the United States.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Thomas J. Corcoran from: Dalby, Scania, Sweden
July 11, 2014 4:36 PM
Immigration:

Please keep in mind that Texas in particular was stolen from Mexico by immigrants from Georgia when Mexico abolished slavery. Yes, "Remember the Alamo," one more "proud" moment in American history but it is irrelevant as none of the countries involved have jurisdiction over Great Turtle Island, a.k.a. North America as it is all Native American / First Nation land.

Please don't speak to me of the so-called "right of conquest" as that must mean that everything that I rob the local convenience store of is mine to keep if I have more firepower than the clerk does.


by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 11, 2014 3:18 AM
Somebody commented in an earlier post dealing with this subject that these children should be deported back to their 3rd world countries. Though that is a completely barbaric statement, I believe that deprtation should be considered here. Since it is estimated that 50,000 or more children have arrived illegally, then I say we deport 50,000 of the illegals that have been here and have committed crimes to US citizens, including DUI's. I would rather help children in need, illegally or not, anyday instead of turning the other cheek while illegal adults come here just to make things worse for us! I think that's a fair trade.

Californians protesting illegal children. That's rich! I mean, their hearts gushed blood for the illegals before, overcrowding the schools, prisons, driver's licences, free food, free everything!!! But stabs these children in the back, who have a better chance at being an American. Make up your minds Californians!!!! And when you high-fiber,latte-drinking, holier-than- the-dirty-South, selves do make up your minds, then make SENSE ABOUT IT!!!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid