Pres. Obama's request to Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to address the border crisis hasn't exactly been warmly received. Maybe it's because nearly half of the funds requested ($1.8 billion) would go Health and Human Services to relocate illegal aliens across the country. Or maybe it's because more than $15 million would go to immigration lawyers to defend Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) in deportation hearings that won't happen for several years -- and that's if they even show up for the hearing.
Most of the criticism has come from the Republican side of the aisle, but earlier this week, Pres. Obama lost a key ally when the No. 2 Democrat in the House, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) suggested that most of the UACs be deported.
The United States cannot be expected to give sanctuary to every single child in the world that is exposed to danger in their country because of the failure of the country's government or local municipality's government to assist in keeping their own children safe.
-- Rep. Steny Hoyer
Even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi now says that she's open to the idea of revisiting a 2008 law that provides for different treatment of UACs from noncontiguous countries compared to those from contiguous countries (Mexico and Canada) as a condition for approving the funding.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has been fairly quiet until this week. There are reports that he told Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) that his outline for a GOP comprehensive immigration reform bill would not receive a House vote this year, and he, too, rejected Pres. Obama's $3.7 billion request.
We're not giving the president a blank check. This is a problem of the president's own making. He's been president for five and a half years. When's he going to take responsibility for something?
-- House Speaker John Boehner
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and former chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) have also spoken out against the request. It's a welcome bit of a change for Rep. Goodlatte who has maintained a more sympathetic tone towards illegal aliens over the past year and a half.
President Obama can and should take action now to halt the flood of illegal crossings at our southwest border. President Obama has many tools at his disposal now to quell this activity at our southern border, such as enforcing immigration laws and cracking down on rampant asylum fraud. Unfortunately, none of these tools are mentioned in his proposal.
-- Rep. Bob Goodlatte
Congress shouldn't give President Obama a single penny until we see him use the current resources to secure the border, increase interior enforcement, and reduce illegal immigration.
-- Rep. Lamar Smith
On the Senate side, GOP Members of the Gang of Eight also rejected Obama's request for funds.
Half of it is for HHS, very little of it is for actual improvements on the border
-- Sen. Marco Rubio
I think this is an emergency on multiple fronts but you just don't want to throw money at the problem.
You want to address the underlying cause of the problem, which is people believing that if they get here, they can stay.
-- Sen. John McCain
But there are reports surfacing of a new danger. Sens. Lindsey Graham and McCain are working with Gang of Eight ring leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on a deal to end the current crisis, including a "broader deal" that could include elements of the Senate-approved amnesty bill.
Still, there's reason for optimism that Congress will use the border crisis to force Pres. Obama to begin enforcing the law. Americans are increasingly blaming Pres. Obama and his policies for the border surge. A poll obtained by The Daily Caller last week found that 59% blame the President, putting him at the mercy of Congress. It'll be our job over the next few weeks and months to make sure that Congress uses the opportunity to force the Obama Administration to enforce existing immigration laws and start deporting illegal aliens in the United States rather than see it as an opportunity to pass bad legislation, which is what lead to the crisis in the first place.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Jul 28th 2014 @ 10:35am EDT