Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 28, 2014

Posts in "Immigration"

July 25, 2014

White House Has Doubts House Will Act on Border Crisis

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest pronounced himself a cynic when it comes to chances the House will act to pass an emergency border supplemental before going home for the August recess.

Earnest said Friday that his “cynicism” is due to Speaker John A. Boehner’s comments Thursday that he was still talking about it with his members, suggesting the GOP is still arguing amongst itself about what to do.

“If there are additional proposals that Congress will actually act on, we’re certainly willing to have conversations with them about what they’re willing to do,” Earnest said. “But again, all we’re hearing from the speaker of the House is talk that’s not backed up by any action.” Full story

July 21, 2014

Obama Convenes Meeting on Border Crisis as Flood of Migrants Slows

The flood of unaccompanied child migrants crossing the Southwest border has slowed this month to about 150 a day, but a $3.7 billion border supplemental remains “critical,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

President Barack Obama will meet Monday with his homeland security council — Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel — to discuss the border crisis, Earnest said.

Earnest suggested White House efforts are starting to result in fewer child migrants — although at 150 a day, that’s still nearly 55,000 per year.

Earnest said the supplemental spending request pending in Congress remains “critical” to addressing the crisis and preventing it from happening in the future.

Obama is scheduled to meet Central American presidents on Friday in hopes of stemming the crisis.

Last week, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, indicated he was losing confidence that a supplemental spending bill would pass before the August recess.

By Steven Dennis Posted at 1:52 p.m.
Immigration

July 18, 2014

Central American Presidents to Meet Obama on Immigration Crisis

Hoping to stem the child migrant criss, President Barack Obama will meet next Friday with President Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala, President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras, and President Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. Full story

July 16, 2014

Obama to Hispanic Caucus: Migrants Will Get Due Process

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Gutiérrez, shown here at a pro-immigration rally outside the Capitol earlier this year, said the president assured the Congressional Hispanic Caucus the migrants on the Texas border will get due process. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama, who’s bound to be hammered no matter what action he takes on the Texas border crisis, tried to reassure skeptical allies Wednesday, telling members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that Central American migrants’ rights to due process would be honored even as he’s pushing to accelerate the process for deporting them.

Obama faced a caucus almost unanimously opposed to changing a 2008 human trafficking law granting children rights to see a judge and contest deportation — and they left the meeting sounding happy Obama had at least heard their concerns. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 8:14 p.m.
Immigration

July 9, 2014

Obama ‘Happy to Consider’ Sending National Guard to Border to Get Votes for Immigration Supplemental

President Barack Obama said Wednesday in Texas he’d be “happy to consider” sending the National Guard to the border if that’s what it takes to get the votes from the Texas delegation for his $3.7 billion immigration supplemental.

In a private meeting, Texas Gov. Rick Perry repeatedly urged the president to deploy the National Guard to the border on his own, Obama said. Obama said he would be “happy to consider” doing so if that’s the price of getting the Texas delegation’s support for the emergency spending bill.

Perry suggested Obama should just go ahead and act on his own, the president said.

“I had to remind him I’m getting sued,” Obama said, alluding to Speaker John A. Boehner’s plan to take him to court for his executive actions. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 7:53 p.m.
Immigration

July 8, 2014

Obama Asking Congress for $4.3 Billion for Border Crisis, Wildfires

immigration009 0707141 445x299 Obama Asking Congress for $4.3 Billion for Border Crisis, Wildfires

Heather Piña Ledezma, who turned 6 on July 4, attends an immigration rally with her mother, who is from Mexico. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:54 a.m. | President Barack Obama wants $3.7 billion in emergency spending from Congress to address the child migrant crisis and another $615 million for wildfires, the White House said Tuesday morning — and the top House Republican appropriator suggested his chamber would act quickly.

A White House official said that the administration’s hope and expectation is that Congress will treat the crisis “as the urgent humanitarian situation that it is” and quickly approve the request.

House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., suggested appropriators will approve funding.

“Plainly, the situation for many of these unaccompanied children is extremely dire, and the United States has both a security and a moral obligation to help solve the crisis at hand,” he said in a statement. “It is clear that additional funding will be needed to ensure the proper care of these unaccompanied children, to enforce the law, and to further secure our border so that these problems can be mitigated in the short term. Our Committee will focus on providing what is necessary to meet these ongoing needs.

“It is also apparent that additional funding to prevent and fight wildland fires – especially in the West where the damage has been so great — is necessary. Our Committee will review this proposal, and will respond appropriately to ensure that proper assistance is available to help the people and communities affected by these devastating fires.”

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, was noncommittal.

“The Appropriations Committee and other Members, including the working group on the border crisis led by Rep. Kay Granger, will review the White House proposal. The Speaker still supports deploying the National Guard to provide humanitarian support in the affected areas — which this proposal does not address.”

White House officials said on a background conference call that the money is needed to “solve” the child migrant border crisis, which has overwhelmed Border Patrol and other government agencies. About half of the money would go toward beefed-up enforcement and court proceedings aimed at accelerating the deportations of the children and adults. And $1.8 billion would go to the Department of Health and Human Services to pay for the care of children and families while they await proceedings.

The funding would also pay for alternatives to detention facilities, like ankle bracelet monitoring, according to a White House official.

The State Department would get $300 million, which would be used in part to advertise in Central American countries to tell parents not to send the children to the United States and that they will not be allowed to stay if they arrive.

The White House continues to separately want authority to quickly deport migrant children and adults — similar to what they have now with Mexican children at the border.

The funding would also beef up prosecutions against smuggling gangs and improve air surveillance of the border.

The administration also wants $615 million for wildfire suppression, which will allow the government to avoid transferring money from fire prevention activities. The administration has called for a permanent cap adjustment for wildfire suppression to avoid an annual cycle of emergency requests and transfers.

The officials could not say how many children have been removed so far this year, how much more quickly they would be removed with the new funding or how many beds the funding would cover.

Some Republicans have already suggested that any spending request should be offset to avoid adding to the deficit.

Related:

Obama Still Needs Congress to Show Him the Money

A Tale of Two Congressional Visits to the Southwest Border

McCain: Cut Aid to Countries Fueling Immigration Crisis

Gutierrez: American Drug Use Fueling Immigration Crisis

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By Steven Dennis Posted at 11:38 a.m.
Immigration

June 30, 2014

Immigration Bill Officially Dead: Boehner Tells Obama No Vote This Year, President Says (Updated) (Video)

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Boehner told Obama that a vote on an immigration overhaul will not be coming to the House floor this year, the president said. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:43 p.m. | President Barack Obama will not wait any longer for House Republicans to pass an immigration bill, after Speaker John A. Boehner told him he will not allow a vote this year, the president said Monday.

“Last week he informed me that Republicans will continue to block immigration reform at least for the remainder of this year,” Obama said Monday in a Rose Garden statement where he announced he would go it alone on immigration, “without Congress,” as far as he can.

Obama said he believes Boehner when he says he wants to pass an immigration bill, but he hasn’t been able to pass anything despite a year and a half of trying.

“America cannot wait forever for them to act,” Obama said.

Boehner put out a statement blaming Obama for the lack of progress on immigration.

“In our conversation last week, I told the president what I have been telling him for months: the American people and their elected officials don’t trust him to enforce the law as written,” Boehner said. “Until that changes, it is going to be difficult to make progress on this issue. The crisis at our southern border reminds us all of the critical importance of fixing our broken immigration system. It is sad and disappointing that ­faced with this challenge ­President Obama won’t work with us, but is instead intent on going it alone with executive orders that can’t and won’t fix these problems.”

Boehner blamed the president’s executive orders for leading to the latest crisis on the border, “giving false hope to children and their families that if they enter the country illegally they will be allowed to stay.  The White House claims it will move to return these children to their families in their home countries, yet additional executive action from this president isn’t going to stem the tide of illegal crossings, it’s only going to make them worse.”

But in his remarks, Obama said Republican leaders have “proven again and again” that they are unwilling to stand up to the tea party and back an immigration bill.

“I’m going to continue to reach out to House Republicans in the hope that they deliver a more permanent solution. …Whenever it is they will find me a willing partner,” Obama said. “The only thing I can’t do is stand by and do nothing while waiting for them to get their act together.”

Obama said that the best solution for Republicans worried that he’s taking too many executive actions is to pass a bill. Full story

June 27, 2014

Obama Dismisses Boehner ‘Stunt,’ Talks Immigration (Updated)

Updated 9:59 a.m. | President Barack Obama dismissed Speaker John A. Boehner’s plan to sue over his executive actions as a “stunt” in a wide-ranging ABC News interview, in which he also told parents in Central America to stop sending their children to the U.S. border.

Obama noted Boehner has not identified a single specific action that they are objecting to.

“I’m not going to apologize for trying to do something while they’re doing nothing,” Obama said.

On immigration, Obama said he told Boehner that if he’s upset about his executive actions, the speaker should try to do something legislatively.

ireland004 031414 445x295 Obama Dismisses Boehner Stunt, Talks Immigration (Updated)

President Obama and Speaker Boehner attend the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon the Capitol’s Rayburn Room in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“You’re going to squawk if I try to fix some parts of it administratively that are within my authority while you’re not doing anything?” Obama said, directing his comments toward Republicans.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel responded in an email.

“The American people, their elected representatives, and the Supreme Court have all expressed serious concerns about the President’s failure to follow the Constitution. Dismissing them with words like, ‘smidgen’ or ‘stunt’ only reinforces their frustration,” he said.

Obama also told ABC that parents should not send their children across the border.

“Do not send your children to the borders,” Obama said. “If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.” Full story

June 19, 2014

Obama Plans to Deport Flood of Immigrant Children

President Barack Obama plans to deport the child migrants flooding across the border without their parents.

Obama called Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto Thursday to try and stem the flow of these children entering the United States illegally, according to a White House readout.

Obama and Nieto discussed working together to return the children to their families safely, and Obama reiterated the children would not be eligible for his program to defer deportations of many young illegal immigrants brought here as children. Nor would they be eligible to stay in the United States under Obama’s proposed immigration overhaul, should legislation ever pass Congress. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 8:43 p.m.
Immigration

June 11, 2014

Obama Will Talk to Boehner on Immigration; Rejects ‘Conventional Wisdom’ on Cantor Defeat

immigration 010 050114 445x306 Obama Will Talk to Boehner on Immigration; Rejects Conventional Wisdom on Cantor Defeat

Obama says he plans to talk to Boehner on immigration. He is under pressure to act on his own to stop deportations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama isn’t buying the narrative that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary shellacking is a death knell for immigration, and plans to personally press Speaker John A. Boehner to act.

“Some of you saw that there was an interesting election yesterday,” he told donors at a fundraiser Wednesday evening. “And it’s interesting to listen to the pundits and the analysts, and some of the conventional wisdom talks about, ‘Oh, the politics of immigration reform seem impossible now.’ I fundamentally reject that. And I will tell the speaker of the House that he needs to reject that,” Obama said. Full story

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