President Barack Obama will ask Congress to provide more than $2 billion in new funds to control the surge of illegal Central American migrants at the South Texas border, and to grant broader powers for immigration officials to speed deportations of children caught crossing without their parents, White House officials said Saturday.
Obama will send a letter Monday to alert Congress that he will seek an emergency appropriation for rapidly expanding border enforcement and humanitarian assistance programs to cope with the influx, the officials said.
The president will also ask Congress to revise existing statutes to give the Homeland Security secretary, Jeh Johnson, new authorities to accelerate the screening and deportation of young unaccompanied migrants who are not from Mexico. Fast-track procedures are already in place to deport young migrants from Mexico because it shares a border with the United States.
"This is an urgent humanitarian situation," Cecilia Muñoz, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said in a telephone interview Saturday.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Saturday during a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border that she holds little hope that Congress will pass comprehensive immigration reform this year. The California Democrat visited a Border Patrol facility in Brownsville holding unaccompanied children.
Congress began the Fourth of July recess on Friday and will return on July 7.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.