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White House: Most kids at border won't stay in US

By Charles Babington

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House said Monday that most unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border are unlikely to qualify for humanitarian relief that would prevent them from being sent back from their home countries.

The pointed warning came as the White House finalized a spending request to Congress detailing the additional resources President Barack Obama wants in order to hire more immigration judges and open additional detention facilities to deal with the border crisis. White House officials said they planned to send the more than $2 billion request to lawmakers on Tuesday.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that while the administration will allow the immigration review process to take place, officials so far don't expect many of the children arriving at the border to be able to stay in the U.S.

"It's unlikely that most of these kids will qualify for humanitarian relief," Earnest said. "It means they will not have a legal basis for remaining in this country and will be returned."

Still, it's unclear how quickly that process will unfold. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged Sunday that such proceedings might be long delayed, and he said that coping with floods of unaccompanied minors crossing the border is a legal and humanitarian dilemma for the United States.

"Our border is not open to illegal migration, and we are taking a number of steps to address it, including turning people around faster," Johnson told NBC's "Meet the Press." At the same time, he said, the administration is "looking at ways to create additional options for dealing with the children in particular, consistent with our laws and our values."

Repeatedly pressed to say whether thousands of Central American children will be deported promptly, Johnson said, "We need to find more efficient, effective ways to turn this tide around generally, and we've already begun to do that."

Most are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, where spikes in violence and poverty are prompting parents to send their children on difficult and dangerous journeys north.

Their numbers have overwhelmed federal agencies. When 140 would-be immigrants - mostly mothers with children - were flown to southern California to ease an overcrowded Texas facility, angry residents of Murrieta, California, greeted the bus as it pulled into town, complaining that they were being saddled with more than their share.

"This is a failure of diplomacy. It is a failure of leadership from the administration," said Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who sought the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, said the administration "is one step behind" a major dilemma that was foreseeable. The number of children coming from Central America without adults has been rising dramatically for several years.

A George W. Bush-era law to address human trafficking prevents the government from returning these children to their home countries without taking them into custody and eventually through a deportation hearing. Minors from Mexico and Canada, by contrast, can be sent back across the border more easily. The administration says it wants more flexibility under the law.

Johnson said the administration has dramatically sped up the processing of adults who enter the country illegally, and it is opening more detention facilities. He acknowledged that the unaccompanied children from Central America, some 9,700 taken into custody in May alone, pose the most vexing problem.

Unaccompanied Central American children generally are being released to relatives already in the United States. Mothers with their children often are released with a notice to appear later in immigration court.

Meanwhile, word of seemingly successful border crossings reaches their home countries, encouraging others to try.

Johnson said the U.S. government is trying to send the message that all people who enter the country illegally will face deportation proceedings eventually. In Central America, he said, "the criminal smuggling organizations are putting out a lot of disinformation about supposed free passes into this country" that will expire soon. "We're cracking down on the smuggling organizations by surging law enforcement resources," Johnson said.

Johnson and others are warning of the dangers that immigrants, and especially children, face when the try to reach the United States on their own. Johnson is scheduled to meet with Guatemalan officials later this week.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said children entering the country illegally must be sent home. If not, Graham said, "you're going to incentivize people throughout that part of the world to keep sending their children here."

Graham said foreign aid should be cut off to countries that don't do more to discourage illegal immigration to the United States.

Perry appeared on ABC's "This Week"; Cuellar was on CNN's "State of the Union"; Graham was on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Join the discussion

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vpqueen July 07 2014 at 3:41 PM

Why no troops on the border, Mr. Obungle?

Flag Reply +102 rate up
47 replies
taurus7125 July 07 2014 at 3:47 PM

Why is everyone afraid to call Obama a failure? Is it that they would be called a racist? Well I think Obama is a racist and an incompetent *******. Say it America don't be afraid. Most of the so called media is afraid, WAKE UP Obama is incompetent and a failure as president, he may be a nice guy but as president he is a failure.

Flag +102 rate up
50 replies
bottomtime321 July 07 2014 at 3:43 PM

White House: Most kids at border won't stay in US.

And you can keep your Doctor too!

And a Movie caused the deaths in Benghazi!

And Obama didn't know about the IRS targeting either!

And Lois Learner took the Fifth because she not guilty!
And on and on and on!

Sure we believe Obama and his Regime of Crooks!

Flag Reply +100 rate up
45 replies
tistolaugh July 07 2014 at 3:45 PM

The Obama Administation's incoherent Dem policies have been disastrous failures for our country on nearly every front.

Flag Reply +100 rate up
25 replies
smithmagster July 07 2014 at 3:41 PM

White House: Most kids at border won't stay in US

dont BET on it people

Flag Reply +99 rate up
10 replies
eaglephoenix2 July 07 2014 at 3:56 PM

The administration has touted transparency as one of their biggest assets. This has been the least transparent administration and the abolute lies and cover ups are astounding. What I just don't get is that O has so many defenders even in the face of these outright lies. People seem to treat this as a team sport instead of something that will affect everyone, regardless of affiliation! The border is a disgrace, regardless of who is in charge. But the one in charge needs to get it fixed and lead on the matter instead of assigning blame. GET IT FIXED!

Flag Reply +99 rate up
10 replies
bniel77644 July 07 2014 at 3:43 PM

Benghazi attack was the result of a movie!!!

Flag Reply +58 rate up
15 replies
Rob & Kathy July 07 2014 at 6:09 PM

We should drop a few illegals off on the front door steps of liberals. Make them responsible for their food, housing, education and medical care.
Then we will see how "humanitarian" they are.

Flag Reply +10 rate up
Cynthia Van Arsdale July 07 2014 at 8:09 PM

Hello People! When Is Everyone Going To Realize That Nothing But Lies Come From The White House? If Barry Was A White Republican He Would Have Already Been Impeached!

Flag Reply +8 rate up
2 replies
alrdel Cynthia Van Arsdale July 07 2014 at 8:14 PM

Yea right if that's the case why did they let Bush serve two terms!!! He could not spit out a complete sentence during every speech he gave!!!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
schlauger1 alrdel July 07 2014 at 8:34 PM

alrd: He was incapable of knowing what a complete sentence is, or the syntax needed for the words he doesn't understand. Making up words is for him as easy as it is for Palin.

I couldn't watch or listen to him for more than five minutes. His English teacher wife must clench her hands and scream inside for him to please, oh please, think before you speak. Fat chance. Cheney, the evil puke, can at least speak coherently.

Flag 0 rate up
Joe Cynthia Van Arsdale July 07 2014 at 8:18 PM

If Barry was a white Republican, the GOP would love him.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
schlauger1 Joe July 07 2014 at 8:35 PM

If BO was a filthy rich purveyor of elitism and a backwards thinking twit like Romney, the GOP would love him.

Flag 0 rate up
rmorrell200 July 07 2014 at 4:40 PM

I live on the Texas Mexico border. I see what you dont. Obama did cause this problem. Its just another eample of him transforming this nation to what HE wants , and finally Americans are standing up and saying NO.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
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