Boehner Calls for Troops on the Border to Stem ‘Untold Horrors’
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The Fiscal Times
June 20, 2014

House Speaker John Boehner is calling on the White House to send National Guard troops to the U.S-Mexico border to deal with what he called a “national security and humanitarian crisis.” In a letter to the president, the Ohio Republican said that increased numbers of unaccompanied minors are crossing the border, and are being “subjected to untold horrors and violence.”

Pervasive rumors in various Central American countries have been circulating that suggest that minor children who cross the border, even if they do so illegally, will be granted permission to remain in the country. Some have evidently come to believe that a child who crosses the border will be able to confer on relatives the right to come to the U.S. legally.

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As a result, hundreds of children under 18 have been making the dangerous journey from countries including Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to the southern border of the U.S.

Boehner blamed the Obama administration for the problem, writing, “The policies of your administration have directly resulted in the belief by these immigrants that once they reach U.S. soil, they will be able to stay here indefinitely.”

Saying that the safety of the children is “of paramount importance,” Boehner urged the president to sent troops to the border immediately. “The National Guard is uniquely qualified to respond to such humanitarian crises. They are able to help deal with both the needs of these children and families as well as relieve the border patrol to focus on their primary duty of securing our border.”

He also called on the president to work through diplomatic channels to try to make sure that countries in Central America are informing their citizens of the realities of U.S. law. 

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Boehner made it clear that the ultimate goal is to return the illegal immigrants to their own country, and he criticized the current border enforcement practices as promoting hazardous attempts to enter the U.S.

“While we understand that many of these individuals are coming to this country to escape violence and hardship in their home country,” he wrote, “the current climate along the border and our enforcement policies are only encouraging them to risk their lives and those of their children.”

Boehner has refused to bring a bipartisan Senate immigration bill to the floor of the House for a vote. Boehner’s reason for ignoring the bill, which the White House supports and which would likely pass the House, has been his claim that the GOP can’t trust Obama when it comes to immigration, and therefore cannot work with him on the subject.

Yet in the last line of his letter to the president, the Speaker urges Obama to “work with the Congress to develop a long-term strategy to secure our borders and ensure the integrity of our immigration laws.”

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A longtime reporter on the intersection of the federal government and the private sector, Rob Garver is National Correspondent, based in Washington, D.C. He has written for ProPublica, The New York Times and other publications.