President Barack Obama has ways to immediately stop the immigration crisis currently going on at the nation's southern border, according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., but it will need to be a bipartisan effort.
"It certainly appears that most of the parties have gone to their mutual corners," Rogers told NBC "Meet the Press" host David Gregory Sunday. "We've got to get through that. More importantly, the president has tools in his tool box that he can use immediately to stop this."
The current immigration crisis is being blamed in part, on the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, one of the final pieces of legislation signed in 2008 by outgoing President George W. Bush, reports The New York Times.
The bipartisan bill gave new protections to children entering the United States alone who were not from Mexico or Canada, and was passed in order to combat sex trafficking. It prohibits such immigrants from being deported immediately.
Sources told The Times that the White House may seek flexibility in the bill, and Rogers noted Sunday morning that even the bill's co-author, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, believes the president already is able to accelerate the bill's deportation procedure in the case of a crisis.
"This is an interesting thing, a bipartisan issue," Rogers told Gregory. "Hillary Clinton says if you want to stop this, send them back."
And the majority of the immigrants entering the country need to be returned home to stop the crisis, said Rogers.
"This isn't a walk in the park to get from El Salvador, Honduras, into the United States," said Rogers. "These are criminal gangs. These kids are subjected to sexual exploitation, drug exposure, [and] some are being recruited or pressed into gangs along the way. We're losing these kids along the way. "
But the policy on the border when it comes to detaining such immigrant is encouraging families in Central American countries to send their children north, he said.
"If I believe, and I'm in El Salvador or somewhere else, that I can pay a criminal gang through some dangerous circumstances to get to the United States, and they are going to open up with loving arms to keep those kids, you're encouraging that behavior," he said of the United States' immigration policy.
But meanwhile, energy is being spent sending the children around the rest of the United States instead of being "better spent to get them back home."
Rogers said that both parties are having problems when it comes to immigration reform.
"Most Americans, [it's] off the charts, [say] secure the border first," said Rogers. "This certainly has serious consequences."
In addition, he said, the border security issue is also a concern when it comes to public health and with national security.
"We're going to have the highest number of measles case that we have seen in over a decade," said Rogers. "Ninety-seven percent of those cases have [been] imported."
In addition, individuals from "countries of interest," including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and more are using the southern border to infiltrate the United States, Rogers said.
"That is a serious national security issue," said Rogers. "While all of our focus has been on this, guess what, they are taking advantage of the opportunity."
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