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White House to spend millions to curb undocumented children crossing border

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(CNN) – Obama administration has unveiled a plan to spend millions of dollars to stem the tide of undocumented children streaming across the U.S.-Mexico border, announcing a coordinated government-wide response to the situation Friday.

The plan includes almost $100 million in aid to the Central American governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to help reintegrate the illegal migrants whom the United States will send back, and to help keep them in their home countries, according to a White House statement.

The administration also announced it will set aside $161.5 million this year for the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) programs because the programs “are critical to enabling Central American countries to respond to the region’s most pressing security and governance challenges.”

“Our assistance will help stem migration flows as well as address the root cause of the migration,” the statement said.

The Obama administration has accused syndicates in Latin America of waging a deliberate campaign of misinformation that has caused people in poor Central American countries and Mexico to risk their lives to head for the United States, where they expect to stay.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the administration is addressing the problem in several ways.

“We’re going to open up some additional detention facilities that can accommodate adults that show up on the border with their children. And we’re going to deploy some additional resources to work through their immigration cases more quickly, so they’re not held in that detention facility for a long time, and hopefully be quickly returned to their home country,” Earnest said.

Earnest said the administration is also working with Central American countries to address the problem at its root.

“Some of that is an information campaign and countering this intentional misinformation campaign that’s being propagated by criminal syndicates. But also working through a host of USAID programs and the host governments, or the governments in these countries to try to meet some of the citizens’ security needs that are so acute in these countries right now.

Biden meets with Central American leaders

Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Guatemala on Friday for talks with Central American leaders as part of the White House strategy. A large number of the recent surge of undocumented children, 29%, are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, according to the government.

Biden’s objective in the meeting with leaders from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico was to emphasize that “children and adults arriving with their children (in the U.S.) are not eligible to benefit from the passage of immigration reform legislation or from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process.”

Most of the children crossing the border would not qualify for “amnesty” under the federal DACA program that defers deportation for children brought to the United States previously by their parents or guardians illegally.

Biden spoke with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez during his flight to Guatemala. He asked Hernandez to work closely with the other leaders to help develop a plan to address the root causes of unlawful migration from Central America, according to a statement from the office of the vice president.

The vice president discussed the same topics in a meeting in Guatemala later with Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina, President Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador, and representatives from the Honduran and Mexican governments.

Obama administration unveils new response

Biden’s visit to Central America was part of the Obama administration’s response to what it calls an “urgent humanitarian situation.”

U.S. authorities estimate that between 60,000 and 80,000 children without parents will cross the border this year alone.

The majority of the children apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol along the southwest border this month have been concentrated in the Rio Grande Valley sector of Texas, according to a congressional advisory Friday.

As of June 18, 3,103 unaccompanied children from 11 countries were in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody along that border, the majority being from Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala, the advisory said.

The federal government does not have the processing capabilities to handle this kind of influx of illegal human traffic. But the Obama administration has now coordinated a governmentwide response to the crisis.

The new plan announced Friday includes a big influx of spending to the USAID program, including $40 million dollars to Guatemala to improve security, $25 million to El Salvador to help with a crime and violence prevention program and at-risk youth, and $18.5 million to the Central American Regional Security Initiative in Honduras for crime and gang prevention efforts.

The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security are also taking additional steps to try and mitigate the still unfolding immigration crisis.

The agencies are “surging government enforcement resources to increase (the) capacity to detain individuals and adults who bring their children with them and to handle immigration court hearings as quickly and efficiently as possible while also while protecting those who are seeking asylum.”

“This is an extraordinary interagency effort to deal with an urgent humanitarian situation,” said Cecilia Muñoz, the White House director of domestic policy, in a conference call on the new administration plan.

Opponents of the Obama administration remain skeptical of the immigration policies leading to the boarder crossings of minors.

On Friday, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin toured a temporary shelter at Fort Sill housing about 600 unaccompanied minors — ages 12 to 17 — who crossed the United States’ southern border illegally.

Fallin criticized President Barack Obama for the “lax immigration policies that have lead to an illegal immigration crisis.”

“This facility is designed for our soldiers to train and prepare to protect our nation,” said Fallin. “Instead, the federal government is using it as a cross between a boarding school and detention center for illegal immigrants. President Obama should not be using our military facilities as a tool to cover up his failed immigration policies.”

The Obama administration aims to close the Fort Sill housing facility for undocumented children in the next 120 days.

By Shelby Lin Erdman

CNN’s Eric Fiegel contributed to this report.

11 comments

  • Steven Sweeney

    Typical liberals-Send hundreds of millions of our dollars to criminal countries instead of building a fence.They had no problems fencing off the WW 2 memorial to deny Vets access.Obozo just loves these undocumented democrats, nearly as much as the terrorists, since he sends them fat checks as well.

  • metatronking

    LOL . Your goverment sent someone to central america to spend millions of your tax dollars black mailing those governments to stop the tide of illegals. They will take the money, say ok and the children will continue to flood accross the border. God is awesome. Isaiah chapter 54!

  • EnoughPC

    I guess our loser president has let enough illegal voters across the border in 6 years to sure up another victory for dems. Obama is the worse president I have ever lived through. And that makes Jimmy Carter look good.

    • augustoperez

      Simple solution. $200.00 tax exempt bounty for every illegal alien turned in that ends up deported. A 5% of all fines bounty on any and all employers and landlords of illegal aliens. The fine for these is $25,000 per each illegal alien… I can see the phone lines burning.

  • B Cayenne Bird

    The root cause of the immigration is that our American-owned businesses (there are 10,000 to 20,000 American companies in Latin America) are paying below survival wages. This money would be better spent alleviating poverty. Coca Cola, Spreckles Sugar, all of the coffee and chocolate companies, Pfizer, Estee Lauder, every corporation that you can imagine, has manufacturing operations in Mexico that pay slave labor wages. Mexico buys many products from us (exports) and we buy many of their products too. There are more than one million American citizens living in Latin America and this has been the case for decades. There is no “them” and “us”, there is only US. They are our nearest and most important trade partner, yet our companies located there pollute their water, destroy their land and pay starvation wages. They have heard of the American dream, but that’s all it is, just a dream for the majority of people who come here. Our economy relies on the American companies located there, but the 1% is squeezing the people too hard. Also, the priests encourage the people to have as many children as they possibly can, even when there is no money to support them. They need education, birth control widely available as well as better wages. Then they would be less inclined to migrate.

    • Nowhere Freeway

      interesting that you blame us but fail to mention the extremely corrupt mexican government.

    • augustoperez

      First of all, I’m an American of Hispanic ancestry and birth… The meager pay jobs are competitive in those economies, and by competitive I mean that the natives of those countries consider working for the imperialist yanki company better pay than toiling for their own countries’ slave-driver oligarchs. That is why those businesses put factories there. When I lived in Guadalajara, in the mid-late 1990’s, a company (Solectron, If I recall well) built a new plant and all was cool, until they put out an ad seeking to hire workers and advertising a wage 20% above the going rate even at local tech crown-jewel, Hewlett-Packard. The shrieks of stealing skilled employees from the local electronics manufacturing labor cartel were shrill. Solectron simply stated that they believed that they were offering what their workers would be worth and expected to produce and that the “competition” could either raise wages to retain their skilled laborers or man up and shut up. There was never an attempt to retain anyone. Solectron hit the ground running and the Guadalajara Chamber of Commerce Poobahs just trained up a new batch of workers at sub-standard wages.
      In this post-NSA-scandal era, we should locate any and all households comprised of one or more illegal aliens and deport them at our leisure.
      -We should fine and imprison per statute any and all employers of illegal alien workers as well as all those who harbor them by renting or otherwise providing them shelter.
      -We should remove from tax-exempt status any agency that provides aid by encouraging the arrival and permanence of illegal aliens so that they are unable to pass on to the taxpayer any of the cost of their complicity.
      -We should also remove any and all illegal aliens to their home country so they can pay their own way and if they feel strong enough about it, they can then appeal via Skype much as they already do when incarcerated.
      -We should argue that if they are here illegally, they lack the legal capacity to enter into any kind of a legal arrangement, including marriage contracts, as it would encourage the arrival and PERMANENCE of illegal aliens.
      -We should repatriate not just the illegal alien, but the entire household. I get it that a minor may be a US citizen, but it is the adult’s responsibility and leaving the child (or spouse) here would break up a family. It is more economical to pay their airline ticket than it is to keep paying their WIC, Section-8 housing, foodstamps, etc.

      They are here because we’ve not only let them, but our oligarchs have encouraged them. It is time that we start looking out for our own and let their governments provide their people with jobs in their countries instead of meddling in our domestic politics through their spastic consulates. Can anyone tell me why doe s Mexico need almost 50 consulates in the US. We don’t have 31 in their country. Could it be because we don’t have to support a vast population of criminal infiltrators?

  • Pete Street

    The right message: Return the illegal aliens promptly to their home countries. Soon enough, the foreign nationals will understand the message that illegal immigration will result in a return to one’s home country. This policy, if steadfast, will instill that message.

    Next, implement the existing federal E-Verify program nationwide for employees and job applicants.. This program screens for a right to work. Thousands of companies now use this program — for example, FedEx and El Pollo. But this program remains voluntary. Make it mandatory across the nation.

    Illegal aliens have no right to live and work in America.

    With no job, the illegal aliens will self-deport, at their own expense — no national roundup necessary.

    Minus the lure of a job, foreign nationals will stop illegally migrating to America.

    Millions of jobs will open for citizens at a time of elevated unemployment.

    America can get along without illegal aliens, and will prosper all the more.

  • John Markes

    The USA is so poor it has to borrow money and still negligently sends money to other countries that are not as poor. Stop borrowing money just to send it elsewhere.

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