July 1, 2014 in Nation/World

Obama pledges immigration action

Associated Press
 
Mayor urges fight

MURRIETA, Calif. – A California mayor urged residents on Monday to fight a plan to fly migrant families from Texas for processing at a border patrol facility in his city as police start a hotline and prepare to field questions about the transfers.

Murrieta Mayor Alan Long said border officials told him a flight carrying 140 people was expected today.

Migrants will be processed at the border patrol facility in the city and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Police are ready for any security issues, and a mobile hospital unit will be positioned outside the facility to provide additional medical screening if needed, Long said. He acknowledged that migrants would not be released locally and do not have criminal records.

Still, he urged residents in the suburb of 107,000 people some 60 miles north of San Diego to call their elected officials and voice opposition to the plan.

“We want to make sure everyone is doing what they say they’re going to do,” Long told reporters.

WASHINGTON – Conceding defeat on a top domestic priority, President Barack Obama blamed a Republican “year of obstruction” for the demise of sweeping immigration legislation on Monday and said he would take new steps without Congress to fix as much of the system as he can on his own.

“The only thing I can’t do is stand by and do nothing,” the president said. But he gave few hints about what steps he might take by executive action.

Even as he blamed House Republicans for frustrating him on immigration, Obama asked Congress for more money and additional authority to deal with the unexpected crisis of a surge of unaccompanied Central American youths arriving by the thousands at the Southern border. Obama wants flexibility to speed the youths’ deportations and $2 billion in new money to hire more immigration judges and open more detention facilities, requests that got a cool reception from congressional Republicans and angered advocates.

The fast-developing humanitarian disaster on the border has provoked calls for a border crackdown at the same moment that immigration advocates are demanding Obama loosen deportation rules in the face of congressional inaction.

Obama’s announcement came almost a year to the day after the Senate passed a historic immigration bill that would have spent billions to secure the border and offered a path to citizenship for many of the 11.5 million people now here illegally. Despite the efforts of an extraordinary coalition of businesses, unions, religious leaders, law enforcement officials and others, the GOP-led House never acted.

“Our country and our economy would be stronger today if House Republicans had allowed a simple yes-or-no vote on this bill or, for that matter, any bill,” Obama said.

Obama said that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, informed him last week that the House would not be taking up immigration legislation this year.

Obama directed Homeland Security Department Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to present him by the end of the summer with steps he can take without congressional approval.

The Border Patrol has apprehended more than 52,000 child immigrants traveling on their own since October.

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