Obama Seeks Governors' Support on Immigrant Kids

Sunday, 13 Jul 2014 03:14 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell met privately with dozens of governors Sunday as the Obama administration tried to get support from the leaders of states that will host thousands of the Central American children who have crossed the Mexican border on their own since Oct. 1.

Governors of both parties expressed concerns about the cost to states, including providing public education for the children, according to those who attended the meeting in Nashville, Tenn. Burwell left the meeting through a side door without talking to reporters.

"Our citizens already feel burdened by all kinds of challenges. They don't want to see another burden come into their state," said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat. "However we deal with the humanitarian aspects of this, we've got to do it in the most cost-effective way possible."

Urgent: Don't Underestimate Your Risk for Heart Disease. Free Online Test Now

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad were among the most vocal Republican critics. They seized on the administration's plans to place the children with friends or family members without checking on their immigration status.

Under current law, immigrant children from countries that don't border the United States and who cross into this country by themselves are turned over to HHS within 72 hours. From there, they often are reunited with parents or placed with other relatives already living in the country, while they wait for an immigration court to decide their future. The court process can take years.

Neither Burwell's agency nor immigration officials check the immigration status of relatives who take custody of the immigrant children.

Since Oct. 1 more than 57,000 children have crossed the border alone. Most are from Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala.

"We want to make sure they're placed in a safe and supportive home or placement, but also, it should be somebody that is legal and somebody that will be responsible to see that they show up for the hearing," Branstad said.

According to data from the Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review, about a quarter of immigrants facing deportations hearings don't show up as ordered. The no-show rate for the juvenile immigration court docket is about 46 percent.

Amid the debate of what is causing the ongoing crush of child immigrants and how the government can stem the flow, two key lawmakers said President Barack Obama can take administrative action to relieve much of the crisis without waiting for what is likely to be a contentious and lengthy Congressional battle.

At issue is a provision in a 2008 human trafficking law that puts the fate of these immigrants in the hands of immigration judges. The Obama administration has expressed some interest in asking Congress to change the law to give the administration more leeway in dealing with the crisis.

But Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that wholesale changes by Congress may not be necessary and that Obama has the authority to return the children to their native countries.

Obama "has tools in his toolbox" to deal with humanitarian issues and deter more children from coming to the U.S., Rogers said.

"We can safely get them home," Rogers said on NBC's "Meet the Press." He said, "And that's where the president needs to start. So he needs to re-engage, get folks who are doing administrative work on the border. They need to make sure they send a very clear signal."

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the author of the provision in the human trafficking law, said a change in regulations, not the law, could speed the children's return.

The law already allows HHS and the Homeland Security Department to write regulations to deal with "exceptional circumstances" that would allow officials to return the children more quickly to their home countries, Feinstein said Thursday at a hearing on a $3.7 billion emergency budget request from the White House to deal with the growing crisis on the border.

Some of the money would go to help fund about 40 additional immigration judge teams. Federal immigration courts have a backlog of more than 375,000 cases.

Special: Caught on the Border - See the Video

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Israeli Military Offers 4 Hour Humanitarian Ceasefire in Gaza

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 08:55 AM

The Israeli military offered a four-hour humanitarian ceasefire on Wednesday in some areas of the Gaza Strip, an army st . . .

Israel Pushes Deeper Into Gaza, Attack on UN Shelter Kills 20

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 07:46 AM

The Israeli military pushed deeper into the Gaza Strip, targeting new sites from north to south, as an attack on a Unite . . .

Gunmen Tunneled Into Kibbutz, Killed by Israeli Soldiers

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 07:16 AM

By the time Dana Bar-On had fully woken up, nine of the 10 Palestinian gunmen who tunneled out of the Gaza Strip near he . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved