Photo: Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said Friday they are roundly opposed to expedited deportation of immigrant children and they asked President Barack Obama to safeguard the young migrants’ rights to due process.
At a press conference in Washington, Rep Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said he favored approving the supplementary funds requested by Obama to address the influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America, but only as long as “we do not short-circuit justice for the children.”
The White House is said to be weighing the idea of legal changes that would shorten the process for deporting the thousands of unaccompanied immigrant youngsters who have arrived in recent months, most of them from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Republicans are pressing for such legal changes.
Current policy, shaped by various court cases and pieces of legislation, including laws enacted in 2002 and 2008, bars immediate repatriation of undocumented migrants from countries that do not share borders with the United States.
“Let me make it absolutely clear: I’m not voting for a supplemental bill that includes changes and abrogates the rights of children as established,” Gutierrez said Friday.
Obama is asking Congress for an additional $3.7 billion in supplemental funds to deal with the “urgent humanitarian situation” created by the arrival of tens of thousands of undocumented Central American children.
With the Republican-controlled House of Representatives blocking immigration reform, Obama is now alone and must act accordingly, Gutierrez said.
Since taking office in January 2009, the Obama administration has deported more than 2 million immigrants, an unprecedented number.