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Boehner Pens Letter to Obama on Border Crisis, Congressional Response

Boehner won the nod from his caucus Thursday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Boehner won the nod from his caucus Thursday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner wrote to the president Wednesday to tell him that it is “difficult to see how” Congress could address the ongoing crisis at the border without addressing the 2008 human trafficking law that many Republicans contend has helped create the surge of migrants on the Southwest border.  

With congressional Democrats increasingly digging in their heels on proposed changes to the 2008 law, Boehner called on Obama to reaffirm the administration’s support for revisions that would expedite deportations of migrant minors from Central America.  

Full text of the letter follows:

Mr. President,

House Republicans have been clear that we want to work with you to help the victims of the terrible humanitarian crisis at our southern border – particularly the children, who have been cruelly duped into making a perilous journey.

Our Appropriations Committee is continuing to review your supplemental request. But, as I have said many times, the American people will not support providing additional money unless you work with both parties to address the causes of this tragedy.

Earlier today, our Border Security working group – led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) – briefed our Conference on recommended policy changes to address this crisis. One of their key recommendations is changing the 2008 law which created the disparate treatment for migrants from nations other than Mexico and made it more difficult to resolve this crisis.

In your letter to Congress on June 30, 2014 you said you supported, “providing the DHS Secretary additional authority to exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.” On July 9, at an event in Texas, you said, “Last week, I sent a letter to Congress asking them to … give us flexibility to move migrants through the system faster.”

After these public statements, and similar comments from other administration officials, we were surprised that you did not include these changes in your formal supplemental request. Worse, in recent days, senior congressional leaders in your own political party have backpedalled and voiced unswerving opposition to any changes at all.

Frankly, it is difficult to see how we can make progress on this issue without strong, public support from the White House for much-needed reforms, including changes to the 2008 law.

I hope you will take the earliest possible opportunity to voice your continued support for common-sense efforts to stem the flow of children to our border. Working together, we can help provide crucial humanitarian relief, and work to secure our nation’s borders.

Thank you,

John A. Boehner

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