Obama formally requests new powers to deal with surge at border

 

President Obama on Monday formally requested that Congress grant him additional powers to deport the wave of young people illegally immigrating into the country.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Obama also asked for more money to deal with the surge of people, mostly children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, who have come to the border in escalating numbers. [READ OBAMA'S LETTER.]

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Obama said the administration is working to execute a governmentwide strategy as the surge across the Rio Grande Valley continues, and is “eager” to work with Congress to ensure that “we have the legal authorities to maximize the impact” of administration efforts. 

The lengthy letter did not say how much money Obama would request, but he expected to ask for $2 billion in supplemental appropriations.

The funding would help officials at the border deal with what many say is a humanitarian crisis. It would also help the administration hire more judges to give people hearings on whether they will stay or be sent out of the country.

Obama is coming under pressure from Republicans who say his pro-immigration policies have helped lead to the surge by giving people the idea that they’ll be allowed to stay in the United States.

He’s also come under criticism from Democrats, who want the White House to relax deportations.

Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Central American leaders to address the issue on Tuesday. 

According to border control memos, authorities have arrested more than 47,000 unaccompanied minors between October 2013 and May 2014.