President Obama has asked Congress for an emergency infusion of cash, $3.7 billion, in order to manage the wave of unaccompanied children who are arriving at the US border. The money would be used for border patrol, detention facilities, surveillance and other legal necessities.
Republicans are already pushing back (of course) saying they’ll review the request, but have called for a deployment of the National Guard to the border areas. The situation is being approached as a humanitarian issue, according to The New York Times, making the request an urgent one.
“We are taking an aggressive approach on both sides of the border,” a White House official said this morning.
The President is also getting push back from immigration activists who would like to see the number of deportations decline. The Wall Street Journal took a look at the issue in May, showing that the number of deportations under President Obama has declined, though there is more of a focus on immigrants who engage in criminal activity.
There’s also been a dramatic decline in the number of minors who are deported, a downward trend that began with a law passed under President George W. Bush in 2008, which required that minors appear before a judge before being sent home. (That’s part of the reason why President Obama is asking for funds for judges.) It may also be spurring rumors in Central America that the US is more lenient on child immigrants, leading to the influx of minor children.
There are also some who say the executive action Obama took in 2012 permitting the “Dreamers” (children of illegal immigrants who had grown up in America) to legally work and obtain official documents including driver’s licenses for the recent influx of illegal immigrant children. Obama has issues 182 executive orders in the past, compared to President Bush who issues 291.
But this is just one conversation in the larger debate about immigration reform in the US. Noting that “America cannot wait forever,” President Obama announced on June 30 that he will fix America’s immigration issues via executive order rather than relying on congressional action.
Initially, his hopes were high after his immigration bill that passed the Senate 68-32 over a year ago that had many believing that reform was on the brink. A year later with no progress being made, the possibility of reform seems less promising. And this new fight, along with the emotion it has generated, makes it clear that progress will be difficult.
Currently, there are an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. And there have been loud calls on both sides of the issue for some sort of a resolution. The issue, as always, is compromise.
Additional contribution by Tonya Garcia