President Barack Obama will ask Congress for more funding and authority to stem a growing flood of undocumented immigrants from Central America, including unaccompanied children at the southern border.
The White House will send Congress a letter Monday requesting emergency spending to deter unauthorized border crossings and for legislative authority to streamline and expedite the process of returning illegal entrants, a White House official said.
Obama will seek more than $2 billion in funding after lawmakers return next week from recess, said the official, who asked not to be named because the letter hadn't gone out yet. The White House request was first reported by The New York Times.
More than 52,000 unaccompanied children arrived at the southern border this fiscal year through June 15, nearly double the number in the previous period, U.S. Customs and Border Protection data show. Most are smuggled via Central America and Mexico, the White House said.
Some Republicans blame what they call lax immigration enforcement by the White House.
Obama asked the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate a governmentwide response to the surge.
"That is our direct message to the families in Central America: do not send your children to the borders," Obama has told ABC News. "If they do make it, they'll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it."
The Democratic-led Senate last year voted to create a path to citizenship for most people living here illegally while boosting border security. The GOP-led House hasn't acted on that bill, which many Republicans say is tantamount to amnesty.