Battle over border crisis solutions focuses on funding

AUSTIN -- President Barack Obama began his 24-hour Texas trip asking for Gov. Rick Perry's help urging Congress to pass a budget measure to address the flood of children being smuggled into the U.S. from Central America.

"If the Texas delegation is prepared to move, this thing can get done next week," Obama said after meeting with Perry and local officials Wednesday in Dallas. "We can have more Border Patrol agents on the border as the governor's requested."

Yet by the end of his trip, the president made clear his frustration with Republicans' refusal to cooperate with the administration.

"Rather than wage another political stunt that wastes time, wastes taxpayer money, I've got a better idea," Obama said during a Thursday speech in Austin. "Do something!"

The proposed $3.7 billion supplemental appropriation includes money for things many Republicans have asked for, such as speeding up the mandatory legal process for smuggled children. It also includes $1.8 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services for treatment and housing while awaiting a hearing, as well as $1.1 billion to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for processing and removal, $432 million for Customs and Border Protection enforcement and surge operations and $295 million to return migrants to Central America and address the causes for leaving.

Now back in Washington, the president faces a tough sell.

"We're not giving the president a blank check," House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Thursday. "Beyond that, we'll await further discussions with our members before we make any final decisions."

Some Republicans have countered the figure is too high and focuses on symptoms rather than deterrence. The House GOP could offer their own proposal in the coming weeks.

"I'm a little concerned it's a short-term band-aid to what could be a long-term crisis if we don't fix this and what I mean by that," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told CNN host Erin Burnett on Wednesday. "I think we need to look at things like changing this 2008 trafficking law to provide for faster removal from the United States back to Central America."

"One thing that I would like to see in the supplemental bill is my border security bill that passed unanimously in a bipartisan way out of my committee, the Homeland Security Committee, and it's been held up because of immigration reform," McCaul later added. "I'd like to see a bill like that."

Meanwhile the Department of Homeland Security has warned if nothing is done, it could soon run out of money for immigration enforcement.

"There are only twelve more days in which Congress is meeting even for a part of the day between now and August," Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) told KVUE Friday. "So it's essential that the governor, that all of our colleagues, Democrat and Republican alike, are participating and working to see that the department has the funding it needs to do its job. I hope in addition we can begin to unclog the immigration court system and provide them some resources. I'd be doubtful that the entire presidential request would be granted, however."

Go here to read the complete White House proposal.


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