Speaking at an informal press gaggle on Air Force One on Wednesday, White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz indicated that the White House was uninterested in brokering a deal with Republicans over the immigration crisis.
Schultz had been asked about House Speaker John Boehner’s letter to the president in which he called on the administration to make changes to the 2008 immigration law that many say is a root cause of the current crisis. The White House requested $3.7 billion in emergency funds earlier this July to help overwhelmed departments manage the surge of migrants, and to fund programs in the home countries of immigrants that are designed to lower migration levels. (RELATED: Obama Blames The GOP For The Border Breakdown)
The GOP-controlled House Appropriations Committee has yet to grant the request, much to the consternation of the White House. “As I have said many times,” wrote Boehner, “the American people will not support providing additional money unless you work with both parties to address the causes of this tragedy.” (RELATED: State Dept Official Says ‘These Kids Are Boomerangs, It Doesn’t Matter How Far You Throw Them)
Criticizing Obama and other top Democrats for flip-flopping on a more streamlined deportation process within a matter of weeks, he called on the president to support changes to the 2008 law, which currently requires all minors not from Mexico or Canada to have an immigration hearing before being returned to their home country.
Because of the huge surge in migration, immigration courts are massively backlogged, with even the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges saying “we are reaching a point of implosion, if we have not already reached it.” (RELATED: Boehner Slams Obama On Incoherent Migration Policy)
Boehner’s letters implied that Republicans might be willing to grant the emergency funds if the White House expresses “strong, public support” for changes to the law.
Schultz’s response, however, made just hours after the letter was issued, indicates that the White House isn’t willing to play ball. Referring Boehner to the original request for supplemental spending, Schultz said that before working on any reforms “first we need the resources.”