Obama Vows to Go it Alone on Immigration
Accusing Republicans of inaction on immigration reform, President Barack Obama says he's going to bypass Congress and take executive actions to shore up the border.
"America cannot wait forever for them to act," Obama said. "That's why today I'm beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own without Congress."
The news comes as the crisis along America's southern border continues to unravel, with growing numbers of immigrants pouring across.
The body of an 11-year-old boy from Guatemala was recently found along a stretch of highway in La Joya, Texas. Authorities say the boy was wearing jeans, black boots and white rosary around his neck, adding that he apparently got lost after crossing the border.
The tragedy highlights the chaos on America's southern border.
This year alone, more than 174,000 immigrants from Central America have been arrested in Texas. Of that number, 52,000 have been unaccompanied children.
"This is not a situation where these children are slipping through. They're being apprehended, but the problem is that our system is so broken, so unclear, that folks don't know what the rules are," the president said.
Obama is asking lawmakers for $2 billion and tasked his attorney general to come up with recommendations he can take legally without approval from Congress.
But Republicans say the crisis is a result of the president's immigration policies.
"It's in part a humanitarian crisis because presidential policies are enticing children to risk their lives to travel [from] Central America to the state of Texas," Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott said.
The surge of immigrant families has overwhelmed federal authorities. Plans are underway in Dallas to house some 2,000 unaccompanied children in three temporary housing facilities.
"We're going to take these children from chain-link enclosures and put them in compassionate care," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.
The government estimates that between 60,000 and 80,000 children without parents will cross the border this year.