President Obama and border control aid has been an important issue in recent weeks. The president has recently been devoting significant time to the issue, beginning with a request for $3.7 billion in emergency funding. In its request to Congress for the funds, the Obama administration explains that the funding is to be used to address the current crisis on multiple fronts. Of the $3.7 billion, the majority of funds are to be split primarily to increase border security and provide immediate funding to care for the undocumented children and families that have inundated and strained the existing immigration system. In addition, $300 million of the funds will be used to assist Mexico and Central American nations to combat the misconception that children will be allowed to stay in the US.
Response to Crisis
This request is small compared to the $30 billion in funds that would be allocated to immigration reform as a result of Senate Bill 744, which passed by a vote of 68-32 in 2013. Despite senate support for immigration reform, Republican house members have consistently stopped progress.
Also at issue is a 2008 bill, signed by President George W. Bush, which prevents the government from swiftly deporting undocumented children from non-bordering nations and instead requires hearings to determine whether they may qualify for asylum. The law was intended to keep vulnerable children out of the hands of human traffickers and sex slavery. A recent CNN article estimates the expected influx for this year at between 60,000-80,000 children, most from Central American nations which are ravaged by poverty and crime.
U.S. Border Control Deportees
Many deportees are gang members sent back to Central America and left with no resources, jobs or future and so return to criminal activity and form new gangs, exacerbating the problem. It’s believed that these gangs, in addition to drug cartels looking for new sources of income, are fueling the mass exodus by creating a culture of crime and fear in Central America which forces the local population to look for other places to live, then charging children and families large sums of money to be smuggled to the U.S. It’s like selling both bullets and bandages.
The Controversy Over Border Control
President Obama has his hands full with the immigration crisis, and no matter what action he takes, he will be under fire. Nobody will argue that the immigration system needs change, but the fact is that Congress has stalled and placed partisan politics ahead of the needs of their constituents. Despite threats of lawsuits from the Speaker of the House John Boehner, President Obama needs to take decisive action, and with the deadlock in Congress he may be the only one capable of doing that. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that change is needed. It’s become clear that Congress will not act on its own, although a solution is desperately needed.
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