The White House declared flatly Tuesday it was not concerned that an influx of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border would derail efforts at immigration reform.
"No, we're not," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. "The principles related to immigration reform are crystal clear. They are strongly backed by Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. They are strongly backed by business leaders and leaders in the faith community all across the country."
The White House spokesman also reiterated that the administration did not view the surge as related to President Obama's executive order, signed in 2012, that allows certain minors who entered the country illegally as children prior to 2007 to avoid deportation proceedings.
"As we've made clear, [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] would not apply, the deferred action would not apply to these unaccompanied minors," Earnest said. "They are going through the immigration process to determine how to return them to their home countries or to otherwise handle their immigration status."
On Monday, administration officials said the majority of the unaccompanied minors arrested on the borders came from Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras — among the most violent countries in the world. The officials said violence in their home countries was a "major reason" for the influx at the border, noting that there has not been a corresponding surge in immigrants from Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Mexico, where bloodshed is less of a concern.
But some Republicans maintain the president's immigration policies are to blame.
Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzRepublicans giving Univision the cold shoulder: report How 'Big Pharma' stifles pharmaceutical innovation AIPAC must reach out to President Trump MORE (R-Texas) said the crisis is a “direct consequence” of the president’s decisions.
“The parents think, ‘If I send my child [to the U.S.], my child will have amnesty.’ That’s what the president of the U.S. has said. It is the exact opposite of a humane approach to immigration or to securing our borders,” Cruz told Breitbart News.