The recent surge of immigrant children across the U.S.-Mexico border has caused a wave of anger and criticism of the Obama Administration from those who are opposed to immigrants who enter the country illegally.
Despite the fact that President Obama recently asked for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to address border control, Senator Ted Cruz (R- TX) recently accused the President and fellow Democrats of “doing nothing” to stem the flow of immigrants, as well as holding immigrant children for ransom with promises of amnesty.
Cruz’s accusations come in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) recent comment that the southwestern border is already secure. The comment angered Cruz, who said that Reid should visit the border himself and then decide whether or not it is secure.
Congress is currently debating the President’s request for $3.7 billion. House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said in a press conference that he is not optimistic about the House coming to an agreement but that they will continue to discuss it just the same.
House Republicans think $3.7 billion is too much money, but Democrats believe that the investment needs to be made in order to see a positive change and that trying to accomplish the same goals with less money will not be successful.
House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also stated that House Democrats do not agree with the Republican desire to make changes to a 2008 anti-trafficking law. Currently the law treats unaccompanied children from Mexico differently than unaccompanied children from other Central and South American countries. The law was passed in order to protect immigrant children from sex traffickers and requires that hearings be held for children of non-neighboring countries.
This often leads to these children being housed in the U.S. indefinitely, whereas Mexican children are more likely to be immediately turned away at the border. Republicans would like to see the bill altered so that all unaccompanied children are treated in the same manner.
The problem with court hearings for immigrant children is that courts are so backed up that it can take years for a hearing to take place. Generally, while the children wait for their hearing, they will stay with family or friends, go to school and begin to feel like they belong in America.
When people in Central and South America hear how much easier it is for minors to move to the U.S. than it is for adults, more and more children are sent. Republicans hope that altering this law will result in fewer children journeying north to the border, but Democrats claim that this could be potentially harmful to children who travel a long way.
Between 2002 and 2013, Congress increased spending on border control by 300 percent but only increased immigration court funding by 70 percent, resulting in inefficient court systems. It also begs the question whether or not increased funding for border control is effective or if the government should invest that money elsewhere.
– Taylor Lovett