World News – President Obama will this week ask Congress for more than $2 billion to deal with the surge of people — including unaccompanied minors — who are entering the country illegally.
The increase in illegal border crossings has turned into a major political problem for the Obama Administration, and on Monday he will ask for Congress’ help. But with relations continually strained between this administration and Republicans on capitol hill — there are no guarantees.
“We will be requesting additional resources and added flexibility to deal with the significant rise in apprehensions of children and individuals from Central America who are crossing into the United States in the Rio Grande Valley areas of the Southwest border,” a White House official said of a letter Obama will send to congress on Monday. “The letter will make clear our intention to work with Congress on additional legislative authority and send up an emergency supplemental request when the Congress returns from recess to implement a unified, comprehensive Federal Government response.”
Obama will also ask that the Homeland Security Department be granted the authority to fast track the screening and deportation of all immigrant children traveling without their parents, and for harsher penalties for those who smuggle children across the border.
Congress is on recess until after the July 4th holiday weekend.
This past week, the administration sent Vice President Joe Biden to Central and South America to work with governments there to crack down on the illegal immigration problem, which officials say is being fueled by poverty, violence and the misconception that America doesn’t deport children.
On Sunday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi visited a Border Patrol facility in Brownsville, Texas, that held unaccompanied children.
More than 52,000 unaccompanied children, most from Central America, have been apprehended entering the U.S. illegally via the Mexican border since October.
“The fact is these are children — children and families,” Pelosi said. “We have a moral responsibility to address this in a dignified way.”
Speaker of the House John Boehner’s office wouldn’t comment on the preliminary news of Obama’s request.
“We’ll have to actually see the proposal first,” a spokesman said.
— with Hasani Gittens
BY KRISTEN WELKER, nbcnews.com