Immigration Measures Go to Congress


As the debate over the issue of Immigration Reform rises and falls, President Obama is demanding measures go to Congress to resolve the hasty situation of immigration services, particularly those aimed at child immigrants attempting to cross the U.S. border from Central America. Obama has requested $3.7 billion due to decreasing funds going toward the accommodation of the children, since by law, the immigrant children must be detained and brought to trial. Although Republicans are vocalizing their argument to secure the U.S. border with Mexico, it may not be enough to address the rising issue of child immigrants.

Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, was reported as saying President Obama anticipates 90,000 immigrant children will arrive illegally at the U.S. border by the end of the fiscal year in September. According to Tom Cohen of CNN, President Obama has requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding to get more border patrol agents and judges, and to deal with the influx of children arriving at the U.S. border in Texas.

In fact, the Texas border is already overwhelmed. That is why these children, and sometimes women are being transferred to both Arizona and California. Still, the amount of children attempting to cross the border illegally has caused the requirement of deportation proceedings to overburden federal facilities, and ultimately hard-working taxpayers. Though it is the duty of the federal government to retain both women and children as they await deportation hearings, it is costing taxpayers millions of dollars to do so.

Cohen mentioned how the debate between Congress and the President is heating up tremendously over immigration issues. GOP House Speaker John Boehner is reported as saying President Obama has been lacking leadership skills for five and a half years and is dealing with a problem of his own making. Other Republican leaders, such as Texas Governor Rick Perry, have criticized President Obama for not even visiting overcrowded border patrol facilities during his recent trip to Texas.

President Obama refuted the accusations by the Republicans, stating there has been major disagreements instead of actions which would help solve the problem. He stated some leaders are “more interested in politics” than a solution. In response to not visiting overcrowded border patrol spaces, President Obama stated he is aware of the conditions and that visiting the area would be “little more than a photo opportunity.”

There has been immigration measures which have gone to Congress, and ultimately failed. The Senate has attempted to pass immigration reform providing some type of legal status to millions of undocumented people in the country, but the House has failed to pass these measures. No measures have been approved at all to help the widening debate over immigration.

In a report by Alan Gomez of USA Today, Gomez stated a bill being worked on by mostly House Republicans, and which also included bipartisan legislation had died on Thursday morning. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican Florida House Representative, was reported as saying the measure addressed a way to “secure our borders, fix our broken immigration system, help our economy and do so in a way that adhere to the rule of law.” On Thursday morning, however, Diaz-Balart was told the bill would not be considered this year.

According to Diaz-Balart, House Republicans expressed concern over the ability of President Obama to carry out the “enforcement provisions” of both the bill and any other measures pertaining to immigration reform. Diaz-Balart stated the bill included “strict triggers” that must be enforced by President Obama, or any successor  prior to having any undocumented immigrant obtain legal status.

Although House Republicans have claimed to be addressing immigration reform, Gomez reported Boehner as saying he would not support any measures from the Senate which would allow a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Gomez also stated House Republicans have laid out ideas on the issue, but failed to produce any bill for over a year.

Susan Kohan, a writer for The Daily Beast website, has stated arguments from Republicans on what is causing the situation and how to fix it do not make any sense. She stated GOP representatives blame President Obama for giving false hope to immigrant kids, and that is why GOP is saying these kids are showing up at the U.S. border.

Kohan clarified in her argument that there has been a fluctuation of kids migrating from Central America since 2009. Not only are these kids seeking refuge in other countries, like Mexico, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, but if these kids were coming due to President Obama’s policies on immigration, then a wave of children from other countries would be showing up too. In fact, there has been a decrease of Mexican children attempting to cross the border, Kohan stated.

Kohan questioned the ulterior motives Republicans have on refusing to take action on Immigration Reform, including the excuse of border security and deporting illegal immigrants faster. Kohan stated the staggering number of immigrant children being detained is proof that border security is actually sufficient, and that President Obama has actually deported more illegal immigrants than his predecessor. The big question here is after immigration measures go to Congress, when will House Republicans act? Perhaps after some of their representatives revisit George W. Bush’s Victims Protection Reauthorization Act named after William Wilberforce in 2008 which states deportation hearings are necessary by law.

Opinion by Liz Pimentel

USA Today
The Daily Beast

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