Immigration crisis heats up, lawmakers respond - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Immigration crisis heats up, lawmakers respond

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WASHINGTON, DC - The future is uncertain for nearly 60,000 Central American children. It’s a crisis impossible to ignore and it’s shifting the immigration debate on Capitol Hill, leaving lawmakers with only three weeks to reach an agreement with the White House before summer recess.

“These are children of parents who thought it was safer to send their child north into an unknown future, than stay in Guatemala and probably face death,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The first round of deportations since the immigration crisis began Monday along the nation’s southern border. Democrats and Republicans have acknowledged this is a humanitarian crisis.

“These poor, innocent children are being brought across the border, most of them unaccompanied minors. We need to secure our borders and stop that from happening, which is truly the compassionate thing,” said Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI).

Several members of Congress say the president needs to start up an aggressive public service campaign; telling parents not to send their kids to the U.S. on what some lawmakers are calling “death trains.”

There’s also talk about re-opening and re-evaluating trade agreements with Mexico and Central America.

“We’ve got to fix the problem. We don't need finger pointers, we don't need speeches, we don't need partisanship,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). “We need people to work with the administration, to work with both houses in Congress.”

The emergency at the border has some lawmakers questioning the president’s judgment - the same sentiment expressed during the VA scandal, and botched health-care rollout. Obama’s request for $3.7 billion in emergency funding has been met with skepticism, with some members of Congress saying the president should have seen this coming.

“I’m a little bit confused as to why now? Why this humanitarian crisis now? Why all of a sudden have all these children showed up. Where were they six months ago, one year ago, two years ago?” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA).

Glenn Thompson, another Republican congressman from Pennsylvania, says those who wish to come to the U.S. are welcome to do so – they just have to do it legally.

“You’ve got to come in through the front door, not the back door. You’ve got to go through a legal immigration process, not an illegal process. That's a responsibility the president has to do,” Thompson said.

The responsibility falls on members of Congress, too.

“There's more agreement among the American people than you would see in the leadership of Congress,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI). “Frankly if we brought comprehensive immigration reform to the floor tomorrow, or tonight, it would pass. It's become a political question rather than a real policy question.”

There are still a lot of questions about how to deal with this border crisis – but one thing we know – the longer the debate goes on the more both parties have to lose by not addressing comprehensive immigration reform.

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