Obama administration pledges to 'stem this tide'

The president will hold a meeting hundreds of The president will hold a meeting hundreds of miles away to discuss the immigration crisis. Photo Credit:

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WASHINGTON - (AP) -- Obama administration officials are defending their response to the immigration crisis on the southwest border and promising to stem the tide of unaccompanied children arriving from Central America.
    

In testimony prepared for a Senate hearing Wednesday, several officials, including the heads of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and of Customs and Border Protection, argue the administration is acting aggressively on multiple fronts. They say they are trying to increase detention space and working with governments in the region.
    
The officials are appearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee a day after Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion to deal with the crisis. The hearing was not called to focus on that request, but questions on it were expected.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border is increasingly becoming a political liability for President Barack Obama, giving Republicans a fresh opportunity to question his administration's competence and complicating the debate over the nation's fractured immigration laws.

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Still, Obama is resisting calls to visit the border during his two-day fundraising trip to Texas, where he arrives Wednesday evening.

Instead, he will hold a meeting hundreds of miles away in Dallas to discuss the crisis with faith leaders and Texas officials, including Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

FILE - This June 24, 2014, file photo shows Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson listens while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Homeland Security Committee hearing about the growing problem of unaccompanied children crossing the border into the US. On NBC's "Meet the Press", Sunday, July 6, 2014, Johnson said that all persons regardless of age face "a deportation proceeding" if they enter the country illegally. The Obama administration, he said, is "looking at ways to create additional options for dealing with the children in particular, consistent with our laws and our values." (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File) Photo Credit: AP

Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have arrived at the border in recent months, many fleeing violence in Central America, but also drawn by rumors that they can stay in the U.S. Republicans and some Democrats say Obama hasn't responded quickly and forcefully enough.

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