White House will ask Congress for new powers to tackle immigration surge

But in a significant toughening of the president’s stance, to be announced formally on Monday, the administration will request the authority to immediately repatriate children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – the Central American countries from which most of the child migrants are travelling.

A White House official told the Guardian the administration is planning to ask Congress to provide the department of homeland security with “additional authority to exercise discretion” in dealing with children from those countries. The request has been drafted in a letter to Congress that will be sent on Monday, the official said…

Unlike migrants from Mexico and Canada, children from countries that do not have a direct border with the US, such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, must first be screened by a US border control agent, who cannot hold them for more than 72 hours before they are transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).