Obama seeks governors' support on immigrant kids - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Obama seeks governors' support on immigrant kids

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • Prosecutor: Doctor fired back at hospital gunman

    Prosecutor: Doctor fired back at hospital gunman

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:34 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:34:20 GMT
    Police in suburban Philadelphia are investigating a shooting at a hospital campus and say they have reports people have been injured and a suspect is in custody.
    Authorities say a doctor wounded by a patient in a deadly shooting at a suburban Philadelphia hospital campus appears to have been the person who returned fire and wounded the patient.
  • Execution offers evidence against lethal injection

    Execution offers evidence against lethal injection

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:34 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:34:13 GMT
    The nation's third botched execution in six months offers more evidence for the courts that lethal injection carries too many risks and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, death-row lawyers and other...
    The nation's third botched execution in six months offers more evidence for the courts that lethal injection carries too many risks and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, death-row lawyers and other opponents...
  • Walsh campaign: Senator won't withdraw from race

    Walsh campaign: Senator won't withdraw from race

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:16 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:16:39 GMT
    Sen. John Walsh said his unattributed use of others' work in his master's thesis was not plagiarism but "a few citations that were unintentionally left out of a term paper" that he blamed in part on...
    Sen. John Walsh remained steadfast Thursday amid allegations he plagiarized a research project required for a master's degree, winning fresh backing from fellow Democrats in Montana and the governor who appointed him...
By ALICIA A. CALDWELL and STEVE PEOPLES
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell met privately with dozens of governors Sunday as the Obama administration tried to get support from the leaders of states that will host thousands of the Central American children who have crossed the Mexican border on their own since Oct. 1.

Governors of both parties expressed concerns about the cost to states, including providing public education for the children, according to those who attended the meeting. Burwell left the meeting through a side door without talking to reporters.

"Our citizens already feel burdened by all kinds of challenges. They don't want to see another burden come into their state," said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat. "However we deal with the humanitarian aspects of this, we've got to do it in the most cost-effective way possible."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad were among the most vocal Republican critics. They seized on the administration's plans to place the children with friends or family members without checking on their immigration status.

Under current law, immigrant children from countries that don't border the United States and who cross into this country by themselves are turned over to HHS within 72 hours. From there, they often are reunited with parents or placed with other relatives already living in the country, while they wait for an immigration court to decide their future. The court process can take years.

Neither Burwell's agency nor immigration officials check the immigration status of relatives who take custody of the immigrant children.

Since Oct. 1 more than 57,000 children have crossed the border alone. Most are from Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala.

"We want to make sure they're placed in a safe and supportive home or placement, but also, it should be somebody that is legal and somebody that will be responsible to see that they show up for the hearing," Branstad said.

According to data from the Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review, about a quarter of immigrants facing deportations hearings don't show up as ordered. The no-show rate for the juvenile immigration court docket is about 46 percent.

Amid the debate of what is causing the ongoing crush of child immigrants and how the government can stem the flow, two key lawmakers said President Barack Obama can take administrative action to relieve much of the crisis without waiting for what is likely to be a contentious and lengthy Congressional battle.

At issue is a provision in a 2008 human trafficking law that puts the fate of these immigrants in the hands of immigration judges. The Obama administration has expressed some interest in asking Congress to change the law to give the administration more leeway in dealing with the crisis.

But Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that wholesale changes by Congress may not be necessary and that Obama has the authority to return the children to their native countries.

Obama "has tools in his toolbox" to deal with humanitarian issues and deter more children from coming to the U.S., Rogers said.

"We can safely get them home," Rogers said on NBC's "Meet the Press." He said, "And that's where the president needs to start. So he needs to re-engage, get folks who are doing administrative work on the border. They need to make sure they send a very clear signal."

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the author of the provision in the human trafficking law, said a change in regulations, not the law, could speed the children's return.

The law already allows HHS and the Homeland Security Department to write regulations to deal with "exceptional circumstances" that would allow officials to return the children more quickly to their home countries, Feinstein said Thursday at a hearing on a $3.7 billion emergency budget request from the White House to deal with the growing crisis on the border.

Some of the money would go to help fund about 40 additional immigration judge teams. Federal immigration courts have a backlog of more than 375,000 cases.

___

Peoples reported from Nashville.

___

Follow Alicia A. Caldwell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/acaldwellap

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • Ex-Venezuelan intelligence chief detained in Aruba

    Ex-Venezuelan intelligence chief detained in Aruba

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:03:45 GMT
    Authorities in Aruba say they have detained a former Venezuelan intelligence official on a request from the U.S. government.
    Authorities in Aruba announced Thursday that they arrested a close confidant of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who was sent as that country's consul to the Caribbean island despite being sanctioned by the U.S....
  • Dutch sending unarmed police to Ukraine crash site

    Dutch sending unarmed police to Ukraine crash site

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:03:38 GMT
    The Dutch prime minister says he is sending 40 unarmed military police to eastern Ukraine as part of a ramped-up effort to find the last victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 still at the wreckage site.
    The Netherlands is sending 40 unarmed military police to eastern Ukraine as part of a ramped-up effort to find the last victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 still at the wreckage site, Prime Minister Mark...
  • Iraq elects new president as attacks kill dozens

    Iraq elects new president as attacks kill dozens

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:47 PM EDT2014-07-24 20:47:52 GMT
    Iraqi officials say militants have attacked a prisoner convoy north of Baghdad, killing 52 prisoners and eight soldiers.
    Iraqi lawmakers elected a veteran Kurdish politician on Thursday to replace long-serving Jalal Talabani as the country's new president in the latest step toward forming a new government. But a series of attacks killed...