The Associated Press is reporting that despite earlier assurances he would seek to fast-track deportation proceedings to send back the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children who have illegally crossed the US border in recent months, President Obama is now backing off that plan after receiving blow-back from members of his own party.
When President Obama first announced his request for $2 billion in funding to help with the growing crisis at the border, he claimed that the money would be tied to efforts to get children into the deportation system faster:
“We will inform Congress that we will be asking them to work with us to ensure that we have the legal authorities to maximize the impact of our efforts,” the administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the request had not yet been formally made.
According to AP, Democrats in Washington DC have pressured the White House to back-off that stance:
An administration official said the White House has already advised the congressional leadership that it wants expanded authorities and said it is still seeking those policy changes. But the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the request before it is announced, said the request for money would be sent separately.
Decoupling the spending request from the contentious policy changes, which faced pushback from members of Obama's own party, may give the emergency money a better chance of getting through Congress.
When CBS News first reported the President's plan to fast-track the Unaccompanied Alien Children, they noted many advocates expressing alarm:
"We're extremely concerned that the administration is continuing to refuse to see this as a refugee issue and that they are really taking drastic steps to roll back a long tradition of child welfare-friendly policies in this country," Michelle Brane, the Director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women's Refugee Commission, told CBS News. The government is "really abdicating our national and international responsibilities and leadership on protection issues," she said.