Obama seeks $3.7 billion to deal with border kids

By From page A10 | July 09, 2014

WASHINGTON — Tackling what he has called a humanitarian crisis, President Barack Obama on Tuesday asked Congress for $3.7 billion to cope with a tide of minors from Central America who are illegally crossing the U.S. border, straining immigration resources and causing a political firestorm in Washington.

The White House said the money would help increase the detention, care and transportation of unaccompanied children, help speed the removal of adults with children by increasing the capacity of immigration courts and increase prosecution of smuggling networks. The money would also increase surveillance at the U.S. border and help Central American countries repatriate border-crossers sent back from the United States.

Obama requested the money in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner. The request did not include proposals for legislative changes that the White House wants. But Obama said he still will seek such changes, including providing the secretary of homeland security additional authority to speed up the removal of children who have arrived from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Obama said he also wants increased penalties for individuals who smuggle vulnerable migrants, such as children.

The developments all come as Obama has declared comprehensive immigration legislation dead in Congress and announced plans to proceed on his own by executive action to make whatever fixes he can to the nation’s dysfunctional immigration system.

That could put Obama in the seemingly contradictory position of weighing proposals to shield millions of people from deportation while at the same time trying to hurry deportations for the unaccompanied children.

Congressional Republicans blame Obama policies for the confusion; Obama administration officials dispute that.

More than 50,000 children have arrived since October, in many cases fleeing violence at home but also drawn by rumors that they can stay in the U.S.

Obama plans to discuss the crisis with faith and local leaders during a political fundraising visit to Texas Wednesday, but he is resisting calls to visit the border for a firsthand look. The White House invited Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who is among those urging Obama to get to the border while he’s in the state, to Wednesday’s meeting in Dallas.

Perry’s spokeswoman Lucy Nashed confirmed that the governor and Obama would meet. Perry “is pleased that President Obama has accepted his invitation to discuss the humanitarian and national security crisis along our southern border,” Nashed said.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, a Republican, called the situation on the border “extremely dire.”

“It is clear that additional funding will be needed to ensure the proper care of these unaccompanied children, to enforce the law, and to further secure our border so that these problems can be mitigated in the short term,” he said in a statement. “Our committee will focus on providing what is necessary to meet these ongoing needs.”

The White House request would:

—Seek $1.1 billion for the Department of Homeland Security to help deter border-crossers and increase enforcement. That would include $879 million to pay for detention and removal of adults traveling with children, to provide additional detention space for those individuals, and to speed up the prosecution of adults who cross the border unlawfully with children.

—Seek $433 for Customs and Border Protection to cover overtime costs and for additional facilities to detain unaccompanied children while they are in Border Patrol custody. It also includes nearly $40 million to increase air surveillance, such as drone flights along the border.

— Provide $64 million to the Department of Justice, with much of the money spend on hiring 40 additional teams of immigration judges. The White House says that together with a previous request for 35 additional teams, the system would be able to process an additional 55,000 to 75,000 cases annually.

—Provide $1.8 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services for the care of unaccompanied children, including shelter and medical care.

As lawmakers return to Washington this week from a weeklong recess, Obama’s spending request is set to be a focus, with the Senate Appropriations Committee scheduling a hearing to examine it.


The Associated Press

The Associated Press


Discussion | 16 comments

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  • PornacJuly 09, 2014 - 7:28 am

    God would just send these kids and folks back to their countries. Don't even let them thru. Let them stew in the sun.

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  • Teach5thJuly 09, 2014 - 8:11 am

    Pornac - What a st**id statement. What would you do if you were in charge?

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  • CD BrooksJuly 09, 2014 - 8:59 am

    Teach5th, you have no idea what goes on here do you? Pornac has been posting sarcasm here for years but you are so full of yourself you don't get it. Wow...so typical, now we have a better understanding of where you're coming from. That ain't a good thing.

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  • Teach5thJuly 09, 2014 - 9:12 am

    Geez, CD - did you get up on the wrong side of the bed? I guess I consider this crisis too urgent for some sm*rmy guy to be sarcastic about it. So, CD - since you're such a deep thinker and certainly not full of yourself (laugh loudly here), what would you do about this "crisis" ---uh, changed verbiage by the White House yesterday --- "situation"?

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  • rlw895July 09, 2014 - 9:33 am

    T5: That's "humanitarian crisis." It's that and a "situation" America is facing. It's not a crises to America. That overstates our ability to cope with it.

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  • Teach5thJuly 09, 2014 - 11:01 am

    It's not a crisis to us? Really? Tell that to the border patrol who are busy taking care of these folks!

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  • rlw895July 09, 2014 - 2:53 pm

    Good idea! But let's not tell them, let's ask them if they see it as a crisis for the U.S.

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  • CD BrooksJuly 09, 2014 - 9:55 am

    Teach5th, you missed the point. BTW, most of us here are a little ego-inflated. Not sure there's anything wrong with that? :)

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  • CD BrooksJuly 09, 2014 - 10:35 am

    Teach5th et al, before we lay this entire process at the presidents feet, we should take into consideration Americans part and those regulations that prohibited us from denying them care. We have given everyone arriving here carte blanche and now it's coming back to haunt us. Healthcare, jobs and schools are wide open to everyone and even though some knew what was happening, most did nothing to stop it. if you make them feel welcome, they take root and stick around. Maybe we should have collectively denied them such hospitable treatment and we wouldn't be in this predicament? Now it's too late and unless there is some bizarre "round-up" or complete across the board denial of anyone without citizenship getting goods and services and I'm pretty sure that aint gonna happen, we will continue to deal with these folks.

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  • Rick WoodJuly 09, 2014 - 9:23 am

    Along with the VA scandal, this crisis appears to have bipartisan support for action. It shows our government doesn't have to be dysfunctional. The whole world is watching; a great opportunity for real American Exceptionalism to shine.

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  • rlw895July 09, 2014 - 9:28 am

    "Congressional Republicans blame Obama policies for the confusion; Obama administration officials dispute that. More than 50,000 children have arrived since October, in many cases fleeing violence at home but also drawn by rumors that they can stay in the U.S." Mr.S: I believe that's a fair and balanced statement of the situation. No calls for impeachment. Give it a rest and let's solve the problem.

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  • PornacJuly 09, 2014 - 5:26 pm

    "Fair and balanced". I like that, where'd that come from?

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  • JagJuly 09, 2014 - 7:33 pm

    I don’t care who at fault. I am even willing to say no one is at fault OK,, just tell me how much for fifty thousand cans of coke and fifty thousand sandwiches are for the BUS ride home and one drone strike next to the Mexican prison to free our Us marine

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  • rlw895July 09, 2014 - 7:51 pm

    While the whole world is watching. And even if they weren't, good thing you're not in charge.

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  • JagJuly 09, 2014 - 8:11 pm

    Yes RW we agree good thing I am not in charge and I also be we will agree that the Illegals are coming from Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua correct? Well there is a reason why they are not stopping in Mexico to set up a new life. I am just so sick and tired of all the lovey dovey BS, Let’s stop the wars and close the boarders and focus on our self’s for 10 years, Can we do that?

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  • Mr. SmithJuly 09, 2014 - 7:55 pm

    Ha, ha! Can't disagree with your instinct or your humor, Jag. These millions of uninvited aliens have been slowly destroying the USA for years due to our own stupidity. That, however, is not funny. The aliens are not to blame, but my grandchildren, and those of many more of you will suffer a diminished lifestyle because of that stupidity.

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