Senate Democrats Push Back Against Speedy Deportations

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Fate of Obama’s $3.7 Billion Funding Request Could Hinge on GOP Push for a Change in 2008 Law.

The fate of the Obama administration’s plan to deal with a surge of migrant children and families crossing the southern U.S. border is expected to hinge on the Senate, where majority Democrats are divided about giving immigration officials more power to quickly return the children to their home countries.

The White House has requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding to address the crisis. But House Republican leaders want to tie any funding to a change in a 2008 law that requires children crossing the U.S. border alone from countries other than Mexico or Canada be placed with sponsors in the U.S., usually their own family, while their deportation cases unfold in the courts. Their aim is to allow those children to be deported faster.

President Barack Obama has said he needs more flexibility to get the minors back home and to persuade Central American children and their families to avoid starting what can be perilous and even fatal journeys north.

Many Democrats say expedited deportations are a mistake, and in the Senate that division could hinder efforts to move legislation before an August recess.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said he opposed one proposal to more quickly return children to their home countries, and suggested the administration didn’t need congressional action for the authority it has requested. But he was noncommittal about what Democrats eventually would bring to the floor. “Our number-one concern should be this narrow issue of how we take care of this situation we have on the border,” he said.

Mr. Reid cautioned fellow Democrats at a closed-door luncheon Tuesday to avoid reaching any final decision until they are briefed by administration officials Wednesday. But that didn’t stop some senators from expressing their concerns.

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