GOP: Obama must rule out legal status

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Thirty-three House Republicans are calling on President Obama to explicitly rule out granting legal status to child immigrants illegally streaming across the border. 

"You must make an explicit public commitment that you will not support legislation that extends legal status to newly arriving illegal aliens no matter the age," the lawmakes said in a letter sent Wednesday to Obama.

The Republicans also called on the president to halt the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

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Under that program, certain people who entered the country illegally as children are allowed to remain in the United States without fear of deportation. The congressmen argue this violates the Constitution and rewards individuals for breaking the law. 

"The DACA program must be immediately ended to send a clear signal to all individuals that our immigration laws will be enforced,” the letter said.

More than 52,000 child immigrants have been detained so far in this fiscal year, a more than 90 percent increase from all of last year. The children, who are crossing the Texas-Mexico border, are largely originating from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. 

Obama and other administration officials have repeatedly said those crossing the border will not be able to stay in the United States. 

President Obama made the warning in a recent interview, while Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Biden have made similar statements when traveling to the region. 

The administration has blamed the rise on an increase in violence and crime in the region and misperceptions being spread about U.S. immigration policies. 

The 33 lawmakers include Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (Calif.) and Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas).

Republicans blamed the surge at the border on Obama’s policies. They argue the wave is coming because people believe Obama's policies will allow them to stay.

"In recent years, your administration has vowed to circumvent Congress, ignore immigration laws, and act outside the scope of executive powers to implement your desired immigration policies," the letter reads. 

The Republicans also called on the president to disclose the scope of the Department of Homeland Security review of deportation policies that Obama ordered earlier this year.

On Monday, the president called on his administration to recommend a series of executive actions he can take on immigration reform in the face of congressional inaction, starting with moving resources from the interior to the border. 

The Republicans say the uncertainty has caused unaccompanied alien children to cross the border sooner rather than later. 

 

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