By Alexander Bolton - 07/17/14 10:29 AM EDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says immigrants who came to the country illegally at a young age are now legitimate residents and should not be deported.
Reid made the remarks in response to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is demanding that an emergency spending bill for the border reverse President Obama’s 2012 order halting deportations of so-called Dreamers.
In 2012, Obama ordered deferred action for illegal immigrants who came to the country as children and have earned good grades or served in the military.
Republicans argue the order has encouraged families in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to send their young sons and daughters unaccompanied to the U.S. border in hopes they will be able to stay in the country. They say the number of children apprehended in Texas has soared since Obama’s policy change.
Cruz has urged his Republican colleagues to oppose $3.7 billion in emergency funding for the border crisis unless the supplemental appropriations bill includes language halting the deferred action order.
Reid slammed Cruz’s proposal.
“What the junior senator from Texas said [is] we’re not going to do this unless we deport all these children who came here before, the so-called Dreamers,” he said. “Once again we see there are no substantive solutions being offered by the Republican Party.”
Democrats have called on Obama to further ease deportations in the absence of action from Congress on comprehensive immigration reform legislation, which has stalled in the GOP-controlled House.