Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that it’s going to take a whole lot of money to fix the border crisis, in an apparent attempt to convince his Senate colleagues to support a request for billions of dollars from the Obama administration.
“We have an obligation by law to do something about it,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “But it takes a lot of money to take care of this. We can’t do it unless we have added resources.”
Last week, President Barack Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion to help pay for more efforts to detain the roughly 60,000 children who have crossed the southern U.S. border this year, and house them in facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services. But many Republicans have said they can’t support that request, since it would only spend money to deal with the flood of children, and would do nothing to stop the flood.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was among the Republicans who said he can’t support the request, and instead said Congress needs to change current law that makes it harder to immediately deport children from Central America.
This week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) went further by saying he would not support any new border money until the Obama administration reverses its policy of deferring deportation actions against younger illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. by their family members.
In his Senate floor speech, Reid criticized that position and accused Republicans are trying to hold the border children “ransom” for larger policy changes.
“In other words… before Republicans help our border patrol agents and all the other personnel that’s trying to do something to handle this humanitarian crisis, they want President Obama to deport the dreamers who are already here,” Reid said.
But many Republicans continue to believe that the administration’s deferred action program is precisely what has encouraged thousands of children to flee to the U.S., in the hopes of remaining in the country.
Reid said he opposes the idea of deporting children brought to the U.S. at a young age. Reid talked about one of these people, Astrid Silva, and said she is “an American” even though she was born in Mexico.
“Astrid Silva is an American, it’s the only country that she knows,” Reid said. “It would be cruel and unusual to do what the junior senator from Texas wants done.”