Obama-House row deepens over illegal immigrants | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 03, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Obama-House row deepens over illegal immigrants

Obama-House row deepens over illegal immigrants

The US Congress has passed two measures to stem the flow of Central American children into the United States despite the strong objections of President Barack Obama, who vowed to address the crisis unilaterally.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives late Friday approved allocating $694 million to deal with the influx of minors into the United States from Mexico. The measure was approved 223-189.

The amount is much less than the $3.7 billion Obama requested to ease what he has called an "urgent humanitarian situation."

The House measure would increase funding for the Border Patrol and the National Guard, increase the number of immigration judges, and change a 2008 anti-trafficking law so the child migrants can be whisked home without deportation hearings.

The House also passed a measure gutting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a 2012 Obama administration scheme protecting young people who came to the United States illegally as children and who grew up in the country. The bill was approved 216-192.

In a statement, the White House said the bill could result in the deportation of hundreds of thousands of such youths, describing them as "Americans in every way but on paper."

Neither measure would likely be approved in the Senate or signed into law by the president in their current version. No further congressional action on immigration is expected until September.

Since October, more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have been detained crossing the US-Mexico border, about three-quarters of them from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Central American countries where youths are fleeing poverty and gang violence.

The House votes came just hours after Obama said he would redeploy existing resources to tackle the border crisis because of Congress's inaction.

"I'm going to have to act alone, because we don't have enough resources," Obama said. "We've run out of money."

The border crisis has emerged as a hot-button topic ahead of the November mid-term elections, where control of the Senate is at stake.

US politicians widely agree that federal immigration laws badly need reforming, but disagree sharply on what needs to be done.

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