President Obama is getting ready to ask Congress for more than $2 billion in emergency funds to try to deal with the surge of Central American residents who are trying to illegally enter the United States through Texas. The money will also be used to make it easier and quicker to deport those who have already arrived in the country—mostly women and children. Obama will notify Congress of the request on Monday although the details will only be sent after the Fourth of July recess, the New York Times was first to report. In addition, the president wants Congress to approve “fast-track procedures” to deport unaccompanied children, mimicking a process that is already in place for young migrants from Mexico. And the White House will also ask for tougher penalties for smugglers.
Visiting a Border Patrol facility in Brownsville, Texas, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi acknowledged that there is now little hope that Congress will pass comprehensive immigration reform this year, reports the Associated Press. "A few days ago I would have been more optimistic about comprehensive immigration reform," Pelosi said. "I thought that we had been finding a way because we have been very patient and respectful of (Speaker of the House John Boehner) trying to do it one way or another. I don't think he gives us much reason to be hopeful now, but we never give up. There's still the month of July."
The White House has been criticized by both sides of the debate recently. Congressional Republicans say Obama has indirectly encouraged the influx by not being tough enough on border-crossers. Meanwhile, immigration advocates have also criticized Obama, saying “the welfare of children escaping violence in Central America should be the administration's primary concern,” notes the Wall Street Journal. Right now, it can take years to deport young border-crossers who are not from Mexico.