Boehner: Obama flipped on trafficking law

Greg Nash

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday accused President Obama of flip-flopping on whether a 2008 human trafficking law should be changed to accelerate repatriations of child immigrants flooding across the border.

Boehner urged Obama to offer public support for changing the law despite the opposition of many Democrats, and said he was surprised the White House didn’t include the specific proposal in its request to Congress for $3.7 billion to deal with the border crisis.

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He said that the Obama administration had initially indicated it wanted flexibility to send the children back to their home countries more quickly, suggesting support for changing the law. Obama also made public remarks calling for flexibility, Boehner wrote in a letter to the White House.

“In your letter to Congress on June 30, 2014 you said you supported, ‘providing the DHS Secretary additional authority to exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.,’” he wrote.

“On July 9, at an event in Texas, you said, ‘Last week, I sent a letter to Congress asking them to … give us flexibility to move migrants through the system faster.’ ”

Republicans plan to include changes to the law in their own border proposal.

One of the recommendations from the House GOP border security working group led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) would amend the 2008 law so that children from countries that don't border the U.S. are subject to the same process as children from Mexico or Canada.

The Speaker said it was imperative for Obama to publicly support the policy changes in order for Congress to provide the funds.

“Frankly, it is difficult to see how we can make progress on this issue without strong, public support from the White House for much-needed reforms, including changes to the 2008 law,” Boehner wrote.

Many Democrats say they will oppose any emergency funding package if it includes changes to the 2008 law due to concerns it would hinder due process for the child immigrants.

That will make it difficult for Boehner to win enough votes to move a GOP bill, because it is likely to be opposed by a considerable number of conservatives who don't want to provide the administration with any new funding.