I’m guessing that this wasn’t exactly what the President’s Democrat allies had in mind when they were thinking about “comprehensive immigration reform.” Both the NY Times and the Washington Post are reporting that President Obama will, this week, request a two billion dollar slug of emergency cash to stem the tide of children and other illegal aliens crossing into the country. The list of potential uses has a few items.
The Obama administration, in a dramatic escalation of its border control strategy, will seek $2 billion in emergency funds to help stem an influx of Central American women and children entering the country illegally and new measures to more quickly deport those already here, the White House confirmed Saturday.
President Obama intends to notify Congress of his request on Monday, and the administration also will ask lawmakers to modify existing statutes to make it easier to return unaccompanied children to their home countries, an administration official said.
There aren’t a lot of specifics being offered yet, but they include sending more immigration judges to Texas and building new detention facilities for those who have been caught already and are awaiting a court hearing. There was no mention of additional enforcement personnel, border strengthening or electronic surveillance improvements.
The announcement, surprising as it was, seemed to catch the GOP off guard, at least for the moment.
A spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said his office had no comment until it receives the proposal and has time to review it.
It’s a bit early to say, because this could either be a serious proposal or window dressing in response to yet another political crisis. But if the money will honestly go to catching more illegals as they cross, processing them faster and speeding them on their way back home, then this may wind up being one of those rare moments when we can applaud the President for his actions. Call me foolish for offering the benefit of the doubt here, but Barack Obama has been on the receiving end of plenty of criticism from his own supporters for quite some time over his allegedly “aggressive” deportation policies. It could be one policy area where his heart may be in the right place, at least in terms of enforcing existing law. (His willingness to discard those laws and embrace amnesty is another question entirely.)
Assuming the full request is as advertised, I hope that the House GOP will seriously consider granting it and find at least one area where they can agree with the White House. Maybe their collective approval rating could crawl back into double digits if they did.