President Barack Obama wrote congressional leaders today request “new tools and resources we need to implement a unified, comprehensive Federal Government response” to the massive surge of minor and adult illegal aliens crossing the southern border.
The president wrote,”(T)he Department of Justice (DOJ) and DHS are deploying additional enforcement resources -- including immigration judges, Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys, and asylum officers -- to focus on individuals and adults traveling with children from Central America and entering without authorization across the Southwest border…This surge of resources will mean that cases are processed fairly and as quickly as possible, ensuring the protection of asylum seekers and refugees while enabling the prompt removal of individuals who do not qualify for asylum or other forms of relief from removal.”
The president said he is committing foreign assistance resources to improve capacity of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to receive and reintegrate returned individuals and address the underlying security and economic issues that cause migration. He also has initiated public information campaigns to “send a clear message to potential migrants so that they understand the significant dangers of this journey and what they will experience in the United States.” The campaigns “make clear that recently arriving individuals and children will be placed into removal proceedings, and are not eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process and earned citizenship provisions that are part of comprehensive immigration reform currently under consideration in the Congress.” However, as the president noted previously, they are eligible for asylum and other forms of relief. Some in Congress are urging the president to create an emergency refugee program as well.
President Obama requested additional legal authority to deal with the situation, including more discretion to process the removal of unaccompanied children from non-contiguous countries and increased penalties for human traffickers. He also is reportedly seeking more than $2 billion in emergency supplemental funding to support: detaining, processing, and caring for children and adults; more immigration judges for adjudicating cases; and repatriation and reintegration of illegal aliens in their countries.
In response to the letter Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said "We appreciate the update from the White House, but there are too few details – at this point – to determine whether their proposal would be effective. We await the actual request."
Read the president’s letter to congressional leaders.
Updated: Wed, Jul 5th 2017 @ 4:05pm EDT