Republicans escalated their opposition Sunday to President Obama’s request for $3.7 billion to help fix the illegal immigration crisis at the southern U.S. border -- posing alternatives and arguing they can resolve immediate problems for less money.
“Our view as House Republicans is that we're not going to write a blank check,” Texas GOP Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told “Fox News Sunday.”
McCaul said his caucus was looking at changing a 2008 law that allows children entering the United States from non-bordering countries to remain in this country and expressed optimism that the GOP-led House will pass an alternative border security bill before August.
“We have to act soon,” he said. “It's a very tragic human crisis at the border, none like I've ever seen before.”
His arguments were repeated Sunday by several other high-profile Republicans, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose state is at the center of the crisis in which tens of thousands of children and other illegal immigrants from Central America have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border since April.
Perry, who met last week in Texas with President Obama, said he would not comply with the president’s request to convince the Texas congressional delegation to agree to his request for the emergency funds.
“He doesn’t need this amount of money,” Perry told Fox News.
Perry instead called for sending National Guardsmen to the border until more U.S. Border Patrol agents are trained and ready for action.
“This will allow the Border Patrol to get back to what it does,” said Perry, responding to reports of agents now spending much of their time doing paperwork and accepting arriving families at the border, instead of performing law-enforcement duties.
Virginia GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of House Judiciary Committee, called for “targeted appropriations where it’s needed.”
He told ABC “This Week” the money would be to send people back to their countries.
Obama’s proposal reportedly would include money for education and urgent health care for children as well as legal counsel for illegal immigrants at their deportation hearings.