Goodlatte Says Obama Should Pressure Mexico on ImmigrationMichael C. Bender
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said President Barack Obama should pressure the Mexican government to help stop the surge of unaccompanied children illegally crossing the U.S. border.
“This is something the president needs to show leadership on when it comes to enforcing the law, and in terms of putting pressure on Mexico and the Central American countries to assist us in helping prevent this,” Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, said today at a breakfast in Washington hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
As many as 60,000 unaccompanied and undocumented children may cross from Mexico into the U.S. this year, a ten-fold increase from last year, Goodlatte said. The “border surge” of unaccompanied children may rise to as many as 150,000 next year, he said.
The influx coincides with Obama’s push for Congress to pass a revamp of U.S. immigration law. The administration favors a comprehensive bill that passed the Senate a year ago tomorrow. While House Republicans acknowledge that current immigration policy is broken, they’ve refused to take up legislation until they’re satisfied Obama is enforcing current policies.
With an estimated 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and limited funds for deportations, Obama has ordered law enforcement to be more selective in deciding who to remove from the country.
House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said yesterday he’s considering suing the president over some of those orders, such as one Obama gave before his 2012 re-election known as “deferred action” that protects undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children before June 15, 2007.
Goodlatte, who said he’s visiting the border next week to investigate the crossings, blamed Obama for the surge of children, calling it an “administration-made disaster.” Many of the children -- and their parents -- are able to cross the border by claiming fear of political persecution, he said.
He said “changes in the law are necessary,” adding that Obama “needs to help show what those are.”
Goodlatte stopped short of giving a timetable for how the House will address immigration policy.
“It’s not my call when immigration reform is taken up in the House,” he said, adding that “the environment for doing this is exceedingly difficult.”