House Speaker John Boehner believes President Barack Obama is preventing both parties from finding a solution to the current border crisis in the Southwest. He also continues to say he doesn’t believe the American public will support providing additional funds unless Democrats and Republicans collaborate.
“Republicans have made clear that we support efforts to take care of these children, return them safely to families in their home countries, and secure the border,” Boehner said in a statement on Tuesday. “The lack of leadership from this White House, and President Obama’s refusal to stand up to critics in his own political party, are jeopardizing our ability to find common ground and help the kids who are caught in the middle of this crisis.”
The Republican leader’s comments came in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s criticism of the GOP for blocking funds to help the United States deal with the border issue. The Nevada Democrat told reporters Tuesday that the Senate is expected to roll out a $2.7 billion emergency funding bill, short of President Obama’s nearly $4 billion request, NBC News reports.
Legislators continue to disagree on a measure to fix the current situation. Republicans blame the White House and congressional Democrats because they “backpedaled” on their support for changes to the 2008 trafficking law.
“After first supporting common-sense changes to the 2008 law that is making it more difficult to resolve this crisis, the White House backpedaled and failed to include those changes in its formal request to Congress. Meanwhile, many Democrats in Congress have reversed themselves and now say no changes to the 2008 law are acceptable,” Boehner said in the statement.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Tuesday reiterated that if Congress does not agree to pass the emergency funding, Border Patrol would run out of money by mid-September.
“Doing nothing in Congress is not an option,” Johnson said in a press conference. Johnson told reporters that the administration had cut down on processing times for deporting adults and that the number of migrants crossing into the U.S. illegally had reduced in recent weeks.
“We’re not declaring victory,” Johnson said. “This could be seasonal, but the numbers are dropping.”
Critics think the measure has stalled the U.S. immigration system. The law requires that judges hold hearings for immigrant children from countries other than Mexico and Canada, thus preventing the kids from possibly being turned away at the border. It forces Border Patrol to place most of the kids under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, which then finds them safe housing and advises them on their rights.
A House GOP working group, led by Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, conducted a review of what is now a humanitarian crisis. They expect to present their recommendations to Boehner later this week, before Congress’ month-long break, which begins on Aug. 1. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, a Kentucky Republican, will begin drafting the legislation once Boehner receives the suggestions.
Gov. Rick Perry on Monday ordered the immediate deployment of as many as 1,000 Texas National Guard to assist with security at the southwestern border, where tens of thousands of undocumented children continue to arrive from Central America. Perry, who has been highly critical of the White House’s handling of the crisis, defended his request by saying he won’t “stand idly” while residents of his state remain “under assault” from drug cartels.
Amanda Sakuma contributed to this report.