House Speaker John Boehner sent a letter to President Obama Wednesday warning that it could be impossible for Congress to green-light additional money to deal with the border crisis unless the president publicly supports a change in a law that is slowing deportations.
Democrats in the House and Senate have also expressed growing opposition, but Republicans are insisting on a change in the law, because many of the nearly 60,000 people who have arrived here illegally in recent months are children from Central America. The law prevents them from being sent straight back to their home countries, and they are instead processed and provided court dates, which is costly and is more likely to result in fewer deportations.
Obama’s about-face on the matter has angered Republicans, who said they were already displeased with the notion of providing a “blank check” to the president to deal with the border crisis.
In his letter to Obama, Boehner noted that Obama not only requested the ability to override the 2008 law to Congress, but he reiterated his support publicly on July 9 at an event in Texas.
“Frankly, it is difficult to see how we can make progress on this issue without strong, public support from the White House for much-needed reforms, including changes to the 2008 law,” the Ohio Republican said in his letter to Obama.
The impasse over changing the law threatens to hold up the spending request.
Obama has asked for $3.7 billion to secure the border and deal with the migrant surge. The Senate is proposing a plan that provides about $1 billion less than Obama’s request, while House appropriators are drafting an even smaller bill worth about $1.5 billion, according to aides.
The House bill has yet to be released and will likely include the language to change the deportation law. The Senate legislation, however, makes no reference to the 2008 law, in part because it could cost the support of some Senate Democrats, including Bob Menendez, of New Jersey, who has expressed opposition.
Obama is under intense pressure from immigration advocacy groups, some who want the children to be granted refugee status and allowed to remain here.
Republicans, however, say they are now waiting for Obama to “publicly reiterate his support” for the change in the law.