WASHINGTON – Democratic opposition increased Wednesday to legal changes that would speed removals of young Central American migrants, jeopardizing President Barack Obama’s call for $3.7 billion in emergency border spending to deal with the surge of unaccompanied youths at the South Texas border.
Republicans insist they won’t agree to the spending without accompanying changes to a 2008 law that gives unaccompanied minors arriving from Central America the right to an immigration hearing, in practice keeping them in this country for years.
But Democratic resistance to such changes hardened, with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi changing her stance Wednesday and announcing her opposition to altering the law in a way that would create shortcuts around the immigration court system.
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus also took a firm stand against any changes in a meeting with Obama.
We made an impassioned plea that the children be protected and that we follow the law, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said afterward.