House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Friday that the flow of unaccompanied children across the southern border is a national security and humanitarian crisis that caused by the Obama administration’s relaxed immigration standards.
“The policies of your administration have directly resulted in the belief by these immigrants that once they reach U.S. soil, they will be able to stay here indefinitely,” Boehner wrote to President Barack Obama.
Boehner also said that while the administration needs to take several steps to help ensure the health and safety of these children, they need to be sent back to their home country.
“Once these immigrants have reached the U.S. and are apprehended, they must be processed by DHS and then the family units must be prepared for return to their home country,” Boehner wrote. He said the administration should send attorneys, judges and support staff to help speed up the process of their deportation.
But Boehner said much needs to be done in the meantime to improve the situation at the border that is exposing children to unsanitary conditions and human traffickers.
Boehner said a first step is to deploy the National Guard to the border, to help relieve border patrol officials who have been attending to the needs of these children, instead of enforcing border security.
“It is our duty and obligation to enforce the laws of our country while protecting the most vulnerable and ensuring they are healthy and well protected,” he wrote. “In that vein, your administration should immediately deploy the National Guard to our southern border.”
He also said the administration needs to have the State Department start negotiations with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to stop the flow of children and warn of the dangers associated with trying to cross into the United States. Boehner also said the U.S. needs to talk to Mexico about how that country can plug the holes in its own southern border.
Republicans have said the administration has done little to discourage thousands of children from trying to cross the border, and is responsible for creating a humanitarian crisis. Officials estimate that 60,000 children will be apprehended this year, although others say the pace set in the first half of this year shows that number could rise to 90,000.
Earlier this week, Rep. Dave Schweikert (R-Ariz.) proposed that border states should be allowed to request as many as 10,000 National Guardsmen to help with the flow of children.
But on Wednesday, members rejected a proposal from Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) to shift $41 million in Defense Department funding for this purpose.
Read Boehner’s letter to Obama here: