WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — House Speaker John Boehner says that President Barack Obama has been AWOL on the border crisis.
During a press conference, Boehner accused the president and his administration flip-flopping of whether to change a 2008 anti-trafficking law to make it easier to return the Central American immigrant children back home.
“This is a problem of the president’s own making, and then he says he wants to solve the problem so we can stop this influx, then he changes his mind,” Boehner stated. “We’ve got a president that’s AWOL and the president ought to get engaged in this if he wants something to happen.”
Boehner claims the White House has been sending “contradictory messages” about how to solve the problem of the influx of immigrants streaming across the southern border.
“The administration started earlier this month by signaling some openness to changes in the 2008 law to accelerate the process of returning these children to their home countries,” Boehner said. “The president called for this change, secretary of Homeland Security called for this change and other administration officials have called for this change. Now the president and his team have apparently flip-flopped.”
Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency spending request looks to be going nowhere amid an impasse over whether to change the 2008 anti-trafficking law. Democrats reject such changes; Republicans insist on them. House Republicans were to meet on the issue Friday morning.
“I want to be clear, there’s going to be no blank check for the president and his allies. Some in Washington may view every new crisis as an opportunity to demand more taxpayer dollars, but the American people don’t see it that way, they want solutions,” Boehner said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who authored the original provisions in the 2008 law to give additional protections to unaccompanied minors, said the administration now believes it needs more flexibility and has given her legislative language to consider. She said she is still reviewing it and hasn’t made any decisions.
The Obama administration is currently weighing giving refugee status to young people from Honduras as part of a plan to slow the influx of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, White House officials said Thursday.
The plan would involve screening youths in Honduras, one of the world’s most violent nations, to determine whether they qualify for refugee status. Similar in-country screening programs were set up in East Asia after the Vietnam War and in Haiti in the 1990s.
The officials cautioned that no final decision on the matter has been made and said the proposal is among a range of ideas the White House is considering. The officials briefed reporters ahead of President Barack Obama’s meeting Friday with Central American leaders on the condition they not be identified by name.
The United Nations has been pushing the U.S. to treat children arriving at the southern border from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador as refugees displaced by armed conflict. The trio of nations has become one of the most violent regions in the world in recent years, with swathes of all three countries under the control of drug traffickers and street gangs who rob, rape and extort ordinary citizens with impunity.
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