Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) and a handful of other House Republicans want the U.S. to cut off all foreign aid to Mexico and three Central American countries until they take steps to stop the flow of unaccompanied children across the U.S. border.
Weber's Illegal Entry Accountability Act seeks to create an incentive for these countries to ease what has become a humanitarian crisis at the border, as the U.S. scrambles to detain and process tens of thousands of children. The bill also reflects the rising GOP frustration with the Obama administration, which many say caused the problem through its efforts to ease immigration laws.
NOGALES, Ariz. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers wait for new arrivals in the intake area where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at CBP's Nogales Placement Center. Pool/Getty Images
"The recent influx of unaccompanied alien children has become a humanitarian crisis, and has proven that certain laws are working against the United States of America," Weber said.
"Texas, a border state, has repeatedly asked for help from the White House to mobilize our National Guard, and there has been no answer from the president or his administration," he added. "Frankly, the Border States have been left hanging to fend for themselves, increasing the health and security risks to our citizens."
Weber's bill would cut off at least $400 million per year in foreign aid to Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Most of the children coming across the border come from the latter three countries, but the bill also targets Mexico for failing to enforce its northern and southern border.
According to ForeignAssistance.gov, Mexico received $265 million in foreign aid in 2013. Guatemala received $84 million, Honduras got $52 million, and El Salvador received $27 million. But other websites argue that U.S. foreign aid totals are higher when military aid is counted.
On Monday, President Barack Obama announced he would shift more officials and resources to the border to help handle the roughly 90,000 children that are expected to try to cross into the U.S. this year. Obama also asked Congress to pass legislation that would let him more quickly deport children from Central America, and has indicated he will seek $2 billion from Congress to deal with the crisis.
But Obama also said the crisis would prompt him to take additional steps on his own under the loose category of "immigration reform," since House Republicans are not willing to consider the Senate-passed immigration bill. Many Republicans suspect Obama's next steps will include additional measures favorable to illegal immigrants, such as delayed deportations, which they fear will only entice more people to try to cross illegally.