Conservatives slammed House Speaker John Boehner's plan for $1.5 billion to address the illegal immigration crisis on Wednesday, with some charging to Newsmax that Republicans should spend no additional taxpayer money and force President Barack Obama to rescind the 2012 executive order that they say ignited the crisis.
"This is a problem created by the DACA law," said Louisiana Rep. John Fleming. "The president did it by himself."
Fleming referred to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which delayed deportations to children who were brought to the U.S. by their parents when they were young and who have remained here illegally.
"It's a huge PR disaster for him — and he can fix it by simply reversing what he did and by telling people that he is not going to give them amnesty," he said.
Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, declared: "No border bailout, period."
"The first thing that needs to happen is for the president to stop sending signals to the rest of the world that if you get on our soil, you'll be able to stay on our soil," she said. "It doesn't cost any money to do that."
Boehner's $1.5 billion proposal slashes by more than half the $3.7 billion President Obama requested this month in emergency aid to address the deluge of illegal immigrant minors who have been arrested crossing the border in South Texas.
The speaker warned that the figure was the maximum amount that the GOP-controlled House would support — and even that could be cut because many Republicans will not agree to more spending on the issue.
"What the president's asking for is a blank check," Boehner said. "Without trying to fix the problem, I don't know how we actually are in position to give the president any more money."
Boehner's proposal laid bare a growing rift among House Republicans over immigration, further stalling action before Congress begins its five-week summer break on Aug. 1. Later Wednesday, the Ohio Republican sent a letter to Obama calling on him to publicly reiterate his earlier support for changing DACA.
Underscoring further problems with President Obama's request, House Democrats pledged on Tuesday to slash $1 billion and to include $225 million to help Israel battle Hamas militants in Gaza and $615 million to fight raging wildfires in the West.
More than 57,000 illegal minors have been arrested at the South Texas border after crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico since Oct. 1. Most of the children are from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The Obama administration has now estimated that as many as 90,000 are expected to be apprehended by the end of September — and as many as 142,000 next year. By contrast, fewer than 40,000 illegal minors were caught at the border last year.
Boehner's proposal allocates more money for border security than Obama's plan by putting National Guard troops there and by speeding up the deportation process.
It also includes recommendations by a task force led by Texas Rep. Kay Granger. Those include opening unprotected border areas, such as U.S. national parks, to Border Patrol agents.
But those suggestions came under fire by conservative Republicans for not suggesting changes to DACA.
"The document appears to cement the idea that anyone who shows up unlawfully at our border is presumptively entitled to an asylum hearing in the United States," Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions said. "This cannot be so. We cannot allow unjustified claims of asylum to overwhelm our system.
"Because the working group does not explicitly demand a narrowing of the conditions for asylum, the end result of their plan may paradoxically be that more illegal immigrants are eventually granted asylum — enticing even greater numbers to arrive on the promise of speedy grants of lawful status," Sessions said.
In their Newsmax interviews, Fleming and Martin criticized Boehner's plan as too expensive and lacking specifics.
"We don't see the need to spend the money the way they plan to do this, with special appropriations bills," Martin said. She referenced news reports that said only $24 million of the $3.7 billion sought by Obama would be spent before the current fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.
"It's clear that $24 million of $3.7 billion does not indicate that anyone in the administration is taking this as a crisis," she said. "It's time for Congress and the administration, especially the administration, to enforce the laws that are written. It's time to secure the border and enforce the law."
Fleming questioned the cost of Boehner's plan.
"If we did not do more than just get plane tickets and make sure that these people were put on a plane and sent back home, that wouldn't even cost more than $25 million at most.
"While we can always use more money for border security, we have a president who doesn't allow the border to be secure," the three-term congressman said. "I'm very skeptical that any of the money would be spent on any improvement in border security in long run, when you have a president who absolutely ignores the law to make the border secure in the first place."
Fleming labeled the funding request as nothing more than a back-door way for Obama to get House Republicans to agree to comprehensive immigration reform.
Boehner has vowed to address the issue as a series of individual bills — not like the Gang of Eight's legislation that the Democratic-controlled Senate passed last year.
"Once we send [the Senate] something, they can send something back over that we would be forced to vote on," Fleming said. "If we didn't pass it, we would look like we didn't have a heart for children. If it gets passed, it’s going to open a big gap in amnesty for these illegals.
"The Republicans will end up having to deal with the problem. It'll be our problem, even though it was created by the president."
He told Newsmax that a House resolution was preferred by many conservatives.
It would demand that Obama "basically … did his job: defend our borders, rescind DACA, and deport all minors," Fleming said. "He can do all that with his pen and his phone, and there would be no need for us to pass anything.
"As soon as we begin passing legislation that seeks to address the problem, that takes the pressure off him," the congressman added. "There's no reason for him to do anything that's going to be constructive.
"But just to throw $4 billion at him, or even $1.5 billion, at the problem without any guarantee of solutions — many of us Republicans think that's a very bad idea."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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