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Bipartisan Ire: Obama Must Step Up on Border Crisis

09-08-2014
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Both Republicans and Democrats say the president has the power to stop the unprecedented surge of undocumented Central American immigrants flooding the U.S.-Mexico border.

The spike in migrant children started in 2012, the same year Texas Gov. Rick Perry first warned the president about the problem. The influx grew again rapidly in 2013 and exploded this year.

Perry said the border crisis could have been averted had the president heeded those warnings.

"We called some four years ago for 1,000 National Guard troops to temporarily go to the border so that they could help push forward that show the force, if you will," Perry told "Fox News Sunday."

The crisis has once again raised questions about the Obama administration's competence. And many Democrats agree with Republicans that the administration could have done more by acting sooner.

But Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said more soldiers on the border isn't enough.

"Well, Governor Perry's just wrong on that issue," the Illinois lawmaker charged. "He wants to put more National Guardsmen, (reasoning that) if they put more National Guardsmen (on the border), the children wouldn't come."

"They're going to continue to come as long as those conditions exist and we don't fix our broken immigration system," he said.

Meanwhile, the White House said it needs more money to fix the problem - $3.7 billion to exact.

But congressional Republicans say too much of that money goes to housing illegals instead of securing the border. A 2009 government study showed that for $3 billion more, a secure fence could be built along America's entire southern border.

Congressional leaders say the president could relieve much of the crisis without waiting for congressional action, which is likely to take a long time.

"The president has tools in his toolbox that he can (use) immediately to stop this. 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," said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

The president could go to Congress tomorrow and change a provision in a law passed in 2008, which plays a key factor in the current crisis, by letting Central American kids stay in the United States without being quickly deported.

The law was intended to let potential victims of sex trafficking stay in the United States until a judge heard that case.

However, that provision turned into a way for kids to stay in the United States permanently since the court system is backlogged and some never show up for their hearing.

Now Congress is waiting to see if the president will act.

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