Obama mum on trafficking law change at meeting with Hispanic Democrats

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During a Wednesday meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, President Obama didn’t say whether he would back changes to a 2008 human trafficking law to stop the wave of child immigrants crossing the border.

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) said Obama “didn't indicate one way or another” his position on the law. She said members attending the meeting emphasized to the president that they'd like the law to “stay in tact.”

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“We asked him to be bold,” Sanchez said. “He was very straight-forward about the fact that just because a child is in a poor situation, doesn't mean the child should stay. There are lots of children around the world in that situation.”

Republicans are demanding that the law be changed so that border authorities have the power to quickly send child immigrants back to their home countries. Existing law requires that they be granted a hearing, which can lead them to extend stays in the United States are asylum requests are considered.

Most Democrats oppose changing the law, but the White House has signaled some interest in winning greater authority to send immigrants back to their home countries more quickly.

Democrats also were told that the number of children crossing the border has slowed.

During the meeting Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson made the case that children crossing the border have dropped from about 1,000 to 100 children a day, give or take, Sanchez said.  

Sanchez said that a sub-group will work with the White House on what they can do in terms of taking executive action.  

Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.) said Obama was “sympathetic” to the caucus's concerns. 

"We asked him to be as generous as he can be within his legal rights." 

 

 

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