Saturday November 28th, 2015 1:25PM

Obama's border spending request in jeopardy

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic opposition increased Wednesday to legal changes that would speed removals of young Central American migrants, jeopardizing President Barack Obama's call for $3.7 billion in emergency border spending to deal with the remarkable surge of unaccompanied youths at the South Texas border. <br /> <br /> Republicans insist they won't agree to the spending without accompanying changes to a 2008 law that gives unaccompanied minors arriving from Central American the right to an immigration hearing, in practice keeping them in this country for years. <br /> <br /> But Democratic resistance to such changes hardened, with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi changing her stance Wednesday and announcing her opposition to altering the law in a way that would create shortcuts around the immigration court system for Central American youths. Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus also took a firm stand against any changes and were meeting with President Barack Obama on Wednesday to press the point. <br /> <br /> ``Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus feel as though the kids should have their day in court,'' Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said ahead of the meeting. ``We hope that (Obama) agrees. We hope that he will honor the purpose of the 2008 law.'' <br /> <br /> Meanwhile top administration officials including Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson were to brief all senators behind closed doors Wednesday evening in a meeting that could help determine whether the issue can be resolved on Capitol Hill in the three weeks remaining before lawmakers leave town for their annual August recess. <br /> <br /> The 2008 law in question requires unaccompanied youths under the age of 18 who cross the border illegally to receive an immigration hearing, a process that is heavily backlogged and means that many wait months to years. That provision does not apply to border-crossers from Mexico, however. If captured, unaccompanied Mexican youths can be returned promptly if a Border Patrol official determines that they don't have a claim for asylum or refugee status. <br /> <br /> A plan by House Republicans and a bipartisan bill proposed by Texas lawmakers would change the law to allow Central Americans to be treated the same way as Mexicans. Administration officials have said they want that kind of flexibility, but have not proposed specific legislation. House Republicans are working to pair their policy changes with a much smaller spending bill they hope to bring to a vote as early as next week. <br /> <br /> On Tuesday, Pelosi's office said she opposes those changes, a shift from last week when she said that changes to the 2008 law would not be a deal breaker on Obama's request for emergency spending for the border. ``If any changes to the 2008 law are made, they must ensure due process for these children,'' her spokesman, Drew Hammill, said. <br /> <br /> Pelosi's new stance comes as pressure has mounted from immigration advocates, who say the speedy Border Patrol process used for youths from Mexico ignores the risks they face back home and would send Central American kids back to vicious gang violence and worse. <br /> <br /> The White House has not taken a position on the congressional proposals. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House would support changes that speed up the removal of border-crossers as long as their rights are protected. But the White House has not provided details on how that could work. <br /> <br /> ``Should Congress pass a new law? Should Congress pass a law that replaces the 2008 law? Should Congress pass a piece of legislation that would modify the enforcement or implementation of the 2008 law? What I have said is that is Congress' job to determine,'' Earnest said. ``If Congress chooses a path along those lines that results in the secretary of Homeland Security getting the kind of authority he needs to exercise his own discretion to enforce the law more efficiently and do that in a way that continues to respect the basic due process rights of these individuals, then we would be happy with that.'' <br /> <br /> Much of the $3.7 billion in emergency spending Obama is seeking to address the border crisis would be used to increase enforcement at the border and to provide additional facilities to house unaccompanied minors, most of whom come from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. <br /> <br /> Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said he and others told Pelosi in a meeting with lawmakers and advocates last week that there was strong opposition to changing the 2008 law, a point he said he reiterated in a full House Democratic caucus meeting Tuesday. He said many Democrats will not support any emergency spending for the border if it's attached to rollbacks to the 2008 trafficking law. <br /> <br /> ``If we change the policy what we are saying to the criminal enterprise that exploits children there is no punishment for you,'' Gutierrez said. <br /> <br /> Gutierrez also criticized the White House's negotiating strategy for indicating openness to changing the law early on. <br />
© Copyright 2015
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 ( 10 months 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 ( 10 months 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 ( 10 months 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 ( 10 months 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 ( 10 months 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 ( 10 months 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 ( 10 months 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 ( 10 months ago )
Standoff at Planned Parenthood ends with suspect's arrest; 3 killed, 9 wounded
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A gunman who opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood clinic was arrested Friday after engaging in gun battles with authorities during an hourslong standoff that killed t...
1:13AM ( 12 hours ago )
White House undergoes Thanksgiving Day lockdown after man draped in American flag jumps fence
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man draped in an American flag climbed over the fence at the White House on Thursday, prompting a lockdown as the first family celebrated Thanksgiving.The man was immediately appre...
10:11PM ( 1 day ago )
Obama grants reprieve to turkeys 'Honest' and 'Abe' during White House ceremony
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama spared two turkeys named for one of the nation's most admired presidents, continuing a White House tradition that provides a refreshing sense of amusement and...
9:18PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: UN Security Council strongly condemns 'horrifying' attack in Mali, urges probe
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The latest on the attack on a hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako. (All times local):___4:55 a.m.The U.N. Security Council is condemning "the horrifying terrorist attack" at the...
10:58PM ( 1 week ago )
World leaders vow vigorous response to Paris terror spree, but little indication of next steps
ANTALYA, Turkey (AP) — World leaders vowed a vigorous response to the Islamic State group's terror spree in Paris as they opened a two-day meeting in Turkey on Sunday, with President Barack Obama call...
2:14PM ( 1 week ago )