Congressional Republicans appear to be rejecting President Obama’s request for $3.7 billion in emergency spending to address the surge of children crossing the border from Central America and are calling on Obama to send the National Guard to the border and amend a 2008 law to allow for “an expedited return of the children back to their country of origin.”
Ironically, the party is also chiding the administration for failing to develop a plan to secure the border after opposing a proposal that would do just that.
“This is a supplemental that treats symptoms, doesn’t address the fact that people are breaking the laws and our border is not secure,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said during an appearance on Fox News’ Fox & Friends on Wednesday morning. “This is why we think the president needs to show us what is his plan to secure the border to prevents this from happening in the future.”
But Obama already has a plan in front of Congress that addresses many — though not all — of the GOP’s requests and he’s been urging Republicans to take it up for over a year.
That proposal would provide funding for the National Guard to be deployed to the southern border, fund tens of thousands of additional border patrol agents, require the construction of more fencing and the deployment of unmanned surveillance aircraft along the southern border. The measure also guarantees 100 percent “persistent surveillance” at the border with the goal of stopping at least 90 percent of illegal border crossings and would create a board dedicated to monitoring the progress of border security.
It’s called the S.744, the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill, and it passed the upper chamber bipartisan support almost a year ago. Since then, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has refused to bring the bill up for a vote and is unlikely to advance any immigration reform measure before the end of the year.
Last month, Obama sought to link the House’s inaction to the current crisis of unaccompanied minors streaming into the United States, arguing that the lack of comprehensive reform “meant fewer resources to strengthen our borders.” “We now have an actual humanitarian crisis on the border that only underscores the need to drop the politics and fix our immigration system once and for all,” he added, chiding Republicans who “are using the situation with unaccompanied children as their newest excuse to do nothing.”
Obama’s latest supplemental request for emergency funds provides funding for additional detention facilities, judges to expedite hearings for unaccompanied minors, media campaigns in Mexico and Central America discouraging crossing the border, and legal representation for children in immigration proceedings.
Republicans in the House say that the funding ask will be subject to the regular appropriations process, but after refusing to debate a comprehensive reform measure that would boost border security by more than $30 billion dollars, are dismissing the request as an “inadequate” “blank check.”