WASHINGTON, D.C. — The unaccompanied children from Central American crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally should be deported except in extreme circumstances, according to House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
“We have an immediate humanitarian crisis that confronts this country, we also have a crisis in terms of this country cannot continue to absorb, nor should it, a limitless number of people who — particularly children who want to cross our border,” Hoyer told reporters Tuesday.
According to the Democratic whip the influx is unsustainable in the U.S.
“We cannot give these children sanctuary except in extraordinary circumstances. Obviously we have refugee status and protective status for people, but the whole sale coming over the border of teens to less is not sustainable in the United States,” Hoyer said.
Tuesday, President Obama requested $3.7 billion in emergency appropriations to address the ongoing influx of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border. Since October more than 52,000 unaccompanied immigrant children and 39,000 women with children have been detained crossing the border illegally. The vast majority of the new arrivals have been from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
Hoyer said that he believes the request is “reasonable” and expects that the House will respond to it “positively.”
The Maryland Democrat added that the administration has been working with the Central American government and Mexico to impart upon them the need to keep their own children safe and in their countries.
“Look, you’ve got to make sure these children are safe in your country,” Hoyer summarized the message to the governments. “The United States cannot be expected to give sanctuary to every single child in the world that is exposed to danger in their country because of the failure of the country’s government or local municipality’s government to assist in keeping their own children safe.”
President Obama is visiting Texas this week for fundraisers but is not planning to visit the border. He will, however, be meeting with Texas Gov. Rick Perry in Dallas. Perry has implored Obama to visit the border.
According to Hoyer, the Obama administration has been very engaged on the issue and visiting the border is not needed to know there is a humanitarian issue with children crossing the border. He did say, however, that it would not hurt.
“Visiting the border, I don’t think that would hurt,” he said. “I think it would send a signal of his concern. But he is very concerned — he has indicated that — going to the border would be, I don’t want to sound too cynical, a photo op.”
“He’s very seized of this issue,” he added, saying that visiting will not increase that already elevated focus.