U-T San Diego reports that Rep. Darrell Issa now believes the primary cause of the massive number of immigrants crossing the U.S. Southern border is not increased violence in the immigrants’ countries, but poverty.
Issa, who just visited Central America, said that a loophole in a 2008 human trafficking law which allows unaccompanied minors to enter the U.S. if they are escaping from home-country violence is being abused. Issa asserted to U-T San Diego, “This is something people are being coached to say to avoid being sent back.”
Issa is in favor of funding for the immigrants, but only in order to expedite the process of sending the immigrants back home.
On his trip, Issa and four other lawmakers traveled to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, where they met with government and non-government officials, as well as higher-ups in the Catholic Church.
What we were told in these three countries was that, while many of these kids are being recruited into gangs, there is no uptick in violence and it is not the trigger for this surge. Guatemalan officials are very specific in saying that these people are not going from violent areas but rather a poor, rural area. We went out of our way to ask about violence, and while it may be a good reason to leave, it is not the reason for the surge. All three countries said they wanted their children back and oppose this out-migration.
Issa is concerned about the problem spiraling out of control, and with the six-week recess for Congress scheduled to start August 1, wants Congress to amend the human trafficking law. Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, are vehemently opposed to doing so.
Issa’s statements followed on the heels of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s announcement that he is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to Texas’ border with Mexico. Over 57,000 immigrants have crossed the border this year.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama on Monday met with Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and his Homeland Security Team to discuss their plans. On Friday, Obama is supposed to meet with the presidents of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest boasted to reporters Monday that the average number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the border had fallen from 355 each day last month to 150 a day in July.
He slammed Perry for putting National Guard troops on the border on his own, despite the fact that Perry has asked over and over for the White House to do so, saying that putting the National Guard on the border is not the answer. Earnest decided to make a partisan attack, asserting that the real answer is being stymied by the GOP-controlled House, which has not passed the immigration reform the White House wants.
Earnest blasted Perry:
The president does not see this in any way as a substitute for the kind of more enduring response this administration has sought. A much more powerful symbol would be the bipartisan passage of legislation that would actually make a historic investment in border security and send an additional 20,000 personnel to the border.