President Barack Obama said today that most of the unaccompanied minors that have shown up at the US border with Mexico will unlikely qualify for the humanitarian aid that would allow them to stay in the US.
The White House’s announcement is a warning to children and their families from countries south of the border that it is not worth the dangerous trip north if in the end the children are denied asylum in the US and sent back home. The pronouncement was made in conjunction with a proposal to be submitted by the White House to Congress for a budget to hire more immigration judges and open more detention facilities to properly deal with the growing crisis of children seeking refuge in the US. Obama is seeking over $2 million from lawmakers for this proposal.
Josh Earnest, White House spokesman, said that the administration will continue to review each immigration case, there is an expectation that not too many of the individuals seeking residence in the US will be granted such a status.
“It’s unlikely that most of these kids will qualify for humanitarian relief,” Earnest said. “It means they will not have a legal basis for remaining in this country and will be returned.”
Since it is unknown how long it will take for the funding to come through, if at all, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson admitted that processing each child could be long delayed. Dealing with the incoming tide of unaccompanied minors crossing the border is not just a legal conundrum for the US, but a humanitarian one as well.
“Our border is not open to illegal migration, and we are taking a number of steps to address it, including turning people around faster,” Johnson told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
At the same time, he said, the administration is “looking at ways to create additional options for dealing with the children in particular, consistent with our laws and our values.”