While Republicans say the influx of undocumented children from Central America is a pressing issue that requires immediate attention from the president, they aren’t willing to approve funding to address it.
The president “is asking to use billions of taxpayer dollars without accountability or a plan in place to actually stop the border crisis,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.
Asked if he thought lawmakers would approve the proposal, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said, “No, given the mood here in Washington, I don’t have confidence it will happen.”
The president’s $3.7 billion request (a drop in the federal bucket) would, among other things, fund additional processing facilities and the personnel needed to run them as well as hire additional judges and lawyers to manage the legal necessities and ramifications of deportation.
The president’s proposal demonstrates that he is serious about tackling the issue in a prudent manner, but Republicans have other ideas.
Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) are proposing that we immediately put kids on planes and send them directly home wherever that may be.
This is not a serious proposal from serious people. And Johnson and Coburn are clearly not aware that their plan wouldn’t be legal under current law.
The formal process of deportation that the children must go through is the reason President Obama has requested additional funds to deal with the situation. This process will take a great deal of time given the number of children and the number of lawsuits this event will likely generate.
If Republicans don’t like the law, they should agree to compromise and pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Senator Marco Rubio’s reversal on immigration is particularly shameful. He has transformed from a dubious ally on immigration reform to a man who won’t even approve the funding necessary to ensure that children are properly housed while they await deportation.
The White House undoubtedly expected congressional Republicans would reject the president’s proposal. The onus is on them now.