Dozens of House Republicans on Wednesday called on President Barack Obama to end his policy of deferring deportation decisions for younger illegal immigrants, and said doing so would help end the humanitarian crisis at the southern U.S. border.
The letter said Obama's policy, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a huge reason why tens of thousands of children are trying to get across the border. Under DACA, children brought to the U.S. before 2007 are not deported.
House Republicans told President Barack Obama that he needs to end his deferred deportation policy in order to secure the border. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The GOP letter said that while DACA does not apply to new arrivals, it rewards families that broke the law, which is "further encouraging others to seek similar benefits."
"The DACA program must be immediately ended to send a clear signal to all individuals that our immigration laws will be enforced," they wrote.
Signatories to the letter said that while some U.S. officials are starting to say out loud that children crossing the border are doing so illegally, just saying that is not enough.
"The perception of eventual legal status has been generated through your administrative actions," they wrote. "To counter these perceptions, you must take concrete action beyond editorials and press releases — you must end the failed policies that stimulated this unmanageable situation."
The letter also called on Obama to make it clear that he will not support extending legal status to any newly arrived children. And thirdly, it said Obama needs to finally work with Congress on a solution to the problem that has now prompted 52,000 children to try to cross the border.
"Your continued commitment to circumvent Congress and implement policies contrary to the intent of immigration law sends foreign nationals the false hope that administrative amnesty is possible," they wrote.
The GOP letter said DACA is a prime example of Obama's effort to work without Congress. "[T]he very existence of the program contradicts present law and violates the constitutional principle of a separation of powers which grants primary law making authority to the Congress," the letter said.
Congress and the Obama administration may finally get the chance to work together on immigration next week, after Obama sends up his request for $2 billion in new spending to deal with the crisis.
Read the GOP letter to Obama here: