WASHINGTON — Tackling what he has called a humanitarian crisis, President Barack Obama on Tuesday asked Congress for $3.7 billion to confront a tide of minors from Central America who are illegally crossing the U.S. southern border, straining immigration resources and causing a political firestorm in Washington.
The White House says the money would help increase the detention, care and transportation of unaccompanied children, would help speed the removal of adults with children by increasing the capacity of immigration courts, and would increase prosecution of smuggling networks. It would increase surveillance at the U.S. border and help Central American countries repatriate border-crossers sent back from the United States.
The request for money did not include proposals for legislative changes that the White House wants. White House officials said Tuesday they still intend to work with Congress to increase the administration's authority to deport minor border crossers.
Administration officials say they are still working on ways to do it faster, but say that the request for specific legislative changes will move on a separate track than the emergency spending request Obama is sending to Congress on Tuesday.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.