A White House official said the GOP’s refusal to back the unpopular Democrat-drafted Senate immigration bill has caused the wave of young illegal immigrants that are sweeping over America’s border with Mexico.
The child migration is a symptom of the nation’s broken immigration system, the official said, and the responsibility for not fixing it “lies at the feet of the U.S. Congress,” the official said in a June 9 press call with reporters. The two White House officials on the call asked that they not be identified by name.
But the official declined to reveal critical information about the accelerating flow of adult immigrants from Central America, who are using the administration’s lax enforcement of border rules to win legal permission to stay in the United States.
For example, the official refused to speak on the record, and refused to say how many “family units,” have crossed the border in the calculated hope of being allowed to settle in the United States.
The administration’s secrecy is important, because officials have been trying to portray the inflow as a rush of innocent children fleeing persecution, gangs and brutal fathers, not a flood of low-skilled illegals across a porous border and into a new legal sanctuary created by Obama.
However, a second White House official on the call admitted that many illegal immigrants come across the border as families.
“We are also seeing large number of family units… mostly mothers with young children,” the official said. “They’re provided with food, they’re provided with water, for their journeys” north to meet with relatives already living in the United States, the official added.
Republican leaders — including Majority Leader Eric Cantor — have blocked Obama’s immigration bill, but have signaled their willingness to strike an immigration-boosting deal favored by business lobbyists. Most Republican senators have been quiet about the influx, but Sen. Jeff Sessions and Sen. Ted Cruz have loudly protested Obama’s failure to guard the border.
Passage of the Senate’s immigration bill is the president’s top legislative priority, said the first White House official.
If made law, it would double the annual inflow of low-wage guest workers and new immigrants to roughly 4 million per year for a decade. That’s roughly equal to the number of Americans who turn 18 each year.
In 2012, employees’ share of the nation’s annual income dropped to the lowest level in 63 years, while companies’ share reached an after-tax, 85-year record level.
In June, White House officials said the flow could include 60,000 unaccompanied minors in the 12 months up to October, and 130,000 unaccompanied minors in the next 12 months. A few days later, a leaked report predicted the inrush could include 90,000 unaccompanied minors by October, and 140,000 in the following 12 months.