Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is staking out an uncompromising stance on solving the migrant children crisis that could delay bipartisan efforts for more immediate relief, Politico reported
Cruz wants to gut President Barack Obama's 2012 immigration
directive. That order could pave the way for over 600,000 illegals who crossed into the United States as children to become legalized. The directive does not apply to the latest wave of over 50,000 youngsters, but Obama's critics say it set off the current surge.
Sen. John Cornyn and Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas are working on a bipartisan plan which would provide billions of dollars to address the immediate crisis while also amending a 2008 human trafficking law that has impeded efforts to swiftly deport the children. The administration appears open to the Cornyn-Cuellar package, according to Politico.
But Cruz has put out the word that the 2012 Obama directive set off the current crisis and his "top priority" is doing away with it. "We believe that needs to be a prerequisite of any bill that is considered by the Senate," his spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told Politico.
"The move is vintage Cruz: stake out a staunchly conservative position on the biggest debates in Congress," Politico's Manu Raju and Burgess Everett wrote.
Some Republicans worry Cruz's approach would bog down the legislative process. "We should not lose sight of the fact that we have an urgent crisis on the southern border right now and we have to deal with that, I think, first," said Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, according to Politico.
Briefing fellow Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine noted the that illegal arrivals from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico have more than doubled in the wake of Obama's directive. South Dakota Sen. John Thune said that reversing the directive is fundamental to changing the message the United States is sending to Latin America.
Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions has been saying that Congress should not provide the administration with funding until the directive is reversed.
Other Republicans including Arizona Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain seem inclined to keep things simple and move ahead with the Cornyn-Cuellar legislation.
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