Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said President Obama's policy deferring deportations of many young illegal immigrants is the "lure that's driving” the border crisis.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program "allowed trafficking groups to go into these communities in Central America and tell people that America has some special law that's going to allow them to come here and stay,” said Rubio on “Fox News Sunday.”
Since the beginning of the year, more than 50,000 unaccompanied children from Central America have crossed the U.S. border illegally, as Washington struggles to deal with the influx.
House Republicans on Friday passed a $669 million border bill to address the crisis along with a separate measure blocking the administration from expanding the DACA program. President Obama has vowed to veto the measure, which includes policy changes intended to speed up deportations.
The Senate left for the August recess without passing its $2.7 billion border measure.
"We have a very serious situation on border, an unsustainable situation on the border that cannot continue," Rubio said. "The only way to address that is to address the root causes of what’s happening and the root causes are a combination of violence, and instability and poverty in Central America."
Rubio said Sunday the crisis required both compassion for the children and a commitment to enforce the nation’s immigration laws to discourage more migrants.
"These children eventually will have to return, most of them anyways, to their country, because otherwise you are encouraging more people to undertake that very dangerous journey," Rubio said.