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Obama Asks Congress for $3.7 Billion to Tackle Immigration Crisis

Demonstrators block the buses carrying the undocumented, who were scheduled to be processed at the Murrieta Border Patrol Station in Murrieta, California, July 1, 2014.

Demonstrators block the buses carrying the undocumented, who were scheduled to be processed at the Murrieta Border Patrol Station in Murrieta, California, July 1, 2014.

VOA News - U.S. President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion to address an immigration crisis that has seen tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America cross illegally into the United States.

In a letter Tuesday to House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, Obama said the funding would support air surveillance and other enhanced border enforcement, as well as health care for the migrants and additional legal personnel to ensure their cases are processed fairly and quickly.

Obama is separately asking Congress to give Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson new authority to speed up the process of sending minors not eligible to stay in the U.S. back home. The president is also appealing for increased penalties for smugglers transporting children and other "vulnerable migrants."

Obama travels to Texas Wednesday, where he has no plans to visit the border but will discuss the crisis with local officials.

Most of the more than 50,000 children who have crossed into the United States since October are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Many of them left to escape poverty and violence in their nations, but they have also been drawn to the U.S. by rumors that they will be allowed to stay.

White House officials said Tuesday the president's emergency spending request includes $300 million for the State Department, of which $5 million would go toward public media campaigns exposing the dangers of traveling to the U.S.

Officials say the State Department money would also support Central American nations in repatriating the migrants, in addition to providing help with security and economic development to address the countries' problems with violence and instability -- conditions driving people to flee.

Another $1.6 billion would go to the U.S. homeland security and justice departments for border security, transportation and detention, new immigration judge teams and other legal resources, as well as the investigation and prosecution of smugglers. And President Obama is requesting another $1.8 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to provide shelter and medical care for the children while they are in the U.S.

The White House has declared the crisis on the border an "urgent humanitarian situation," accusing smuggling networks of exploiting the migrants.

The issue has reignited the political debate over immigration in the U.S., with Republicans saying President Obama's moves to ease immigration rules have encouraged Central Americans to make the risky trip.

But Obama puts the blame on Republican lawmakers for refusing to pass legislation to reform the U.S. immigration system, which he and other officials have labeled "broken."

The president now says he plans to act without Congress, taking executive action to improve the system.

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4 Comments for “Obama Asks Congress for $3.7 Billion to Tackle Immigration Crisis”

  1. It would be a mistake to send any American tax-payer money to any of those Central American countries for any reason. That aid money would just end up in some off-shore bank account of those countries' ruling families. it has always been that way. And congress ha to pass legislation to stop federal funding for all entitlement benefits to these illegal aliens.

  2. Durrani Law Firm

    I am astonished by how cold we can be as a county. Have our hearts and souls atrophied? Where is our humanitarian concern for these displaced children? Do we want them to experience a miserable, hate-filled existence in our land? Why can't we treat them with gentleness and respect? The experiences they have early in life will shape their futures.
    http://www.durrani.com

    • there is nothing in our US Constitution that allows for any federal funding to go to any entitlement benefits for anyone. Entitlement benefits are not a right. And our government does not have the power to grant rights,or priviledges or gifts. there are many many waysto tend and care for children in America.It should never be done by a coercive State.

    • Republicans are saying President Obama's moves to ease immigration rules have encouraged Central Americans to make the risky trip or is the U.S. immigration system, which he and other officials have labeled "broken."?

      Either way, whomever or whatever organization sent the kids is 10x as cold, hearts and souls atrophied" than whatever USA does with them.

      BTW durrani law firm, is a drug cartel your best client? On the take cause your lifestyle exceeds your income? Then slow down!

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