US president seeks funding to speed deportations
WASHINGTON, DC, USA (CMC) — After announcing plans earlier this month to detain and deport more illegal immigrants, including Caribbean nationals, US President Barack Obama wants Congress to provide more than US$2 billion to control the surge of illegal migrants entering the country.
On the weekend, White House officials announced that the funds would grant broader powers for immigration officials to expedite deportations of children entering the US without their parents.
But even with the new White House proposal, immigrant rights groups signaled, in more than 40 coordinated protests in 23 states, over the weekend that they were still hopeful for action by Obama to decelerate the pace of deportations.
"This is an urgent humanitarian situation," said Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, as she commented on the surge of illegal immigrants.
"We are being as aggressive as we can be, on both sides of the border," she added. "We are dealing with smuggling networks that are exploiting people, and with the humanitarian treatment of migrants, while also applying the law as appropriate."
Muñoz said the Obama administration plans to detain more illegal immigrants, "and to accelerate their court cases so as to deport them more quickly".
She disclosed that the president was expected to dispatch a letter yesterday to Congress, alerting representatives that he will seek an emergency appropriation for rapidly expanding border enforcement and humanitarian assistance programmes to cope with the influx of illegal immigrants, which White House officials say includes unprecedented numbers of unaccompanied minors.
Obama will also ask for tougher penalties for smugglers who bring children and other vulnerable migrants across the border illegally.
Caribbean American Congresswoman, Yvette D Clarke, has been among advocates calling for the redesign of the immigration process in the wake of a US Supreme Court ruling that Caribbean and other immigrant children who lost their places in the slow-moving immigration system, because they turned 21 before their parents received their immigrant visa, could not be given priority.
"We need to redesign the process to work efficiently to eliminate these unnecessary delays," she told the Caribbean Media Corporation. "It is my hope that Congress will resolve this problem with comprehensive immigration reform."
The court's ruling could affect untold numbers of young immigrants across the United States, including the children of New York City teachers recruited to fill classroom vacancies in the late 1990s and early 2000s, who have 'aged out' of the immigration system.