Here’s what President Obama had to say Wednesday about taking executive action, specifically on immigration.
Human smuggling groups in Central America and disinformation about American entry policies are the main drivers behind the current crisis involving more than 50,000 illegal immigrant children that sought entry into the United States, according to U.S. officials.
President Obama’s 2012 executive action ordering immigration officials to refrain from deporting young illegal immigrants caused the recent surge of illegal immigration of unaccompanied minors, according to the Daily Signal.
Congress is working on a legislative solution to the immigrant children crisis on the southern border, which the Obama administration now admits they had anticipated back in January yet still did nothing to stop it.
As the Huffington Post reports, a 2008 anti-trafficking law, which many say has exacerbated the crisis, is at the center of the debate:
The law requires unaccompanied minors from countries other than Canada and Mexico to go through a hearing process to determine if they are eligible to remain in the U.S. through asylum or other relief. But the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who have illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border since October have overwhelmed the system, making the 2008 law seem unsustainable to many.
Republicans say the 2008 law must be changed as a condition of approving any funding for the crisis. Most Democrats say it should be left as is.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), for example, who opposes a bipartisan bill that would reform the law, and make it easier for the U.S. to return non-Mexican immigrants to their countries of origin. He has dismissed the legislation, sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas) and Representative Henry Cuellar (D., Texas), as another “crazy idea” from House Republicans. Reid has yet to produce legislation of his own to solve the problem.
Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, said earlier this month that he is unable to stop the flow of illegal drugs, weapons, and people from Central America, according to Defense One.
House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) sent a letter to President Obama on Wednesday questioning his support for changes to a 2008 law that created disparate treatment for immigrants from Mexico and other nations.
U.S. lawmakers have reduced security assistance to Central American countries that have become increasingly violent in recent months, in part fueling the current immigration problems at the U.S. border, experts and military commanders say.
Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) has called for at least threatening to cut aid from Central American countries that are not working to stop the flow of children illegally immigrating to the United States, Roll Call reports.