Congress tackled the question of why so many children are crossing the U.S. border without adults. House Republicans pointed the finger at the Obama administration.
Three hundred and fifty kids a day are crossing the southern border – most of them from Honduras, Guatamala, and El Salvador. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says there’s two reasons they are leaving. One, conditions in those countries are “really bad.” Two, he blamed smuggling organizations for "putting out a lot of disinformation" about the legal conditions in the United States.
Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee said that information was coming from the White House and Democrats who offer - as House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul of Texas put it - “false promises of amnesty.” Secretary Johnson rebutted that accusation, saying if it was true, why wasn't there a similar influx from countries around the world?
GOP members took turns bashing the Obama administration and offering suggestions to stem the flow: finish the border fence, punish Mexico for not securing its own borders, or send in the National Guard.
Secretary Johnson says he’s hiring more Spanish speaking staff, increasing available housing, and borrowing Coast Guard aircraft to deal with the influx. Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate has been tapped to coordinate the efforts.
Most of the crossings are in the Rio Grande Valley; Johnson says the California border with Mexico has seen little of this surge in young migrant activity.
The influx of child migrants also got attention from another House committee: the Appropriations Committee voted Tuesday to set aside at least $120 million in the foreign aid budget - most of it to help Mexico beef up its own southern border enforcement.