clear
Monday February 8th, 2016 1:05AM
5:27PM ( 7 hours ago ) Weather Alert

Obama officials pledge to stem immigration tide

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Top Obama administration officials told senators Wednesday they're struggling to keep up with the surge of immigrants at the Southern border, acknowledging they've been overwhelmed as children show up by the tens of thousands from violence-torn Central America.<br /> <br /> "We have not been what I would say successful yet" in ensuring that the unaccompanied kids are processed by the Border Patrol as quickly as required, Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.<br /> <br /> "The children continue to come across the border. It's a very fluid situation," Fugate said. "Although we have made progress, that progress is oftentimes disrupted when we see sudden influxes of kids coming in faster than we can discharge them, and we back up."<br /> <br /> Gil Kerlikowske, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said that the number of children picked up since October now stands at 57,000, up from 52,000 in mid-June, and more than double what it was at the same time last year.<br /> <br /> The situation, Kerlikowske said, "is difficult and distressing on a lot of levels."<br /> <br /> Their testimony came a day after President Barack Obama appealed to Congress to give him $3.7 billion in emergency spending to deal with the crisis, which has become a political test for his administration as it sparks fierce debate on Capitol Hill and beyond.<br /> <br /> The president was in Texas Wednesday for a fundraising trip, but he resisted calls to visit the border. Instead Obama planned to meet in Dallas with faith leaders and Texas officials, including Republican Gov. Rick Perry.<br /> <br /> The crisis gave Republicans a fresh opportunity to question the Obama administration's competence even as it complicated the debate over the nation's fractured immigration laws.<br /> <br /> Republicans at Wednesday's hearing slammed Obama administration policies, blaming his efforts to relax some deportation rules for contributing to rumors circulating in Central America that once here, migrant kids would be allowed to stay.<br /> <br /> "We're trying to stop human trafficking. Are we actually increasing it?" asked Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.<br /> <br /> Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., noted that a high percentage of the children fleeing El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are able to succeed in their goal of staying in America because they're issued notices to appear at court hearings in the distant future, and many never do.<br /> <br /> "Your odds are pretty good," McCain said. "There is ample incentive for them to come to this country."<br /> <br /> The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it's changing its priorities in order to respond to the crisis. Juan Osuna, director of the executive office of immigration review, testified that deportation cases involving unaccompanied child immigrants and parents traveling with children would be moved to the top of court dockets. That means lower priority cases will take even longer to wend through a court system where there's currently a backlog of more than 360,000 pending deportation cases.<br /> <br /> Obama's emergency spending request would add more judges to the court system, but elsewhere on Capitol Hill Wednesday Republicans raised questions about it. House Speaker John Boehner was noncommittal about whether the House would vote on it.<br /> <br /> "If we don't secure the border, nothing's going to change. And if you look at the president's request, it's all more about continuing to deal with the problem," Boehner told reporters. "We've got to do something about sealing the border and ending this problem so that we can begin to move on with the bigger question of immigration reform."<br /> <br /> Obama's decision to skip a border visit was providing more fodder for the Republicans and the handful of Democrats who say the president hasn't responded quickly and forcefully enough to the mounting crisis.<br /> <br /> Perry, a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2016, has been scathing in his criticism of Obama, saying the White House has failed to respond to his repeated warnings about a flood of minors at the border. But Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House was not worried about the optics of the president traveling to Texas without visiting the border.<br /> <br /> ---<br /> <br /> Associated Press writers Alicia A. Caldwell, Julie Pace and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 1 year ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 1 year ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Search for Missouri couple wanted for crimes across the South, including Ga., ends with one suspect dead and the other wounded
A weeklong search for a Missouri couple wanted in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended with one suspect dead and the other wounded Friday, after authorities say they chased the pair across the highway and through a rural neighborhood and exchanged gunfire with them in Florida's Panhandle.
By The Associated Press
9:57PM ( 2 days ago )
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 5 days ago )
Cruz (R) expected to claim conservative Iowa caucus victory, with Clinton (D) and Sanders (D) deadlocked among liberal vote
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept to victory in Iowa's Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were deadlocked in a tight race.
By The Associated Press
10:55PM ( 6 days ago )
America, its politics in flux as voting begins
On the eve of the first contest on the 2016 presidential election calendar, some voters are pushing for bolder, more uncompromising action, with an intensity that has shaken both the Republican and Democratic establishments.
By The Associated Press
9:00PM ( 1 week ago )
Piedmont College biology professor says getting rid of mosquito breeding areas key to control of Zika virus
The World Health Organization says the Zika virus is likely to spread to every area of the U.S. where the mosquito that carries it can be found - and that includes Georgia.
By Russell Brown
9:38AM ( 1 week ago )