The Obama administration is asking Congress today for more than $2 billion to address the urgent humanitarian crisis along the U.S. border with Mexico, reports NPR. In the last nine months, more than 50,000 children and teenagers have crossed that border illegally on their own, most from Central America. By law, the administration can’t deport those young people until they have a hearing, a process that can take years. The President is asking for more money to speed up the process and to help warehouse the children while they’re awaiting deportation.
The White House budget request comes as Obama is preparing to travel to Texas this week. He’s not expected to visit the Rio Grande Valley, where most of the Central American children are entering the country. The number of unaccompanied minors from Central America picked up by the Border Patrol has increased nearly tenfold from a few years ago. Texas Gov. Rick Perry told ABC this weekend he’s been warning the White House it needs to take a harder line. “This is a failure of diplomacy,” Perry said. “It’s a failure of leadership from the administration in Washington.”