By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congressman Mike Rogers (R) from Saks said in a recent statement to constituents that there is a flood of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the border and he blames President Obama’s refusal to enforce the immigration laws that are on the books for this current crisis.
Representative Rogers said in his written statement, “As most folks across East Alabama have seen on the news lately, there’s a serious immigration crisis at our Southwest border, and so far it doesn’t look like the Federal government has control of the situation. There is a flood of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing our borders. The Department of Homeland Security estimates over 90,000 children will cross our border in 2014, and over 160,000 children are expected to cross in 2015.”
Rep. Rogers continued, “Last month, I sent a letter to President Obama asking him to deploy the National Guard to the Southwest border to help deal with this crisis. The Border Patrol agents on the ground are overwhelmed and understaffed to deal with the number of children that are flooding into America. In a recent Homeland Security Committee hearing on this crisis, I asked Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson what could be done to expedite returning these children to family members in their own countries the same way we expedite returns for many adults. But Secretary Johnson didn’t have any answers.”
Rep. Rogers concluded, “This immigration crisis is, I believe, a direct result of the Obama Administration refusing to enforce the immigration laws on the books. I asked participants in a Tele-town Hall meeting who they thought was to blame for the crisis and 90 percent of those who participated in the poll agreed with me that it is the president to blame.”
The Department of Health and Human Service is currently in the process of identifying facilities nationwide that could be used to house the flood of unaccompanied minors coming into the U.S. FEMA said the facilities are being evaluated to determine if they can provide temporary shelter space for children and Anniston was one of the cities being considered.
Rep. Rogers said, “I also learned recently that the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal agency tasked with handling the illegal immigrant children after they are apprehended, was looking at possibly housing detainees at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Calhoun County. Why would HHS transport the unaccompanied minors over 900 miles to Alabama? It just doesn’t make sense and I strongly opposed – and continue to strongly oppose – this misguided and misinformed proposal.”
Rep. Rogers continued, “When the relocation plan came to light, I wrote HHS Secretary Burwell and DHS Secretary Johnson demanding answers on why the CDP was even being considered. While they pulled the option off the table, I still want answers as to why this plan was ever considered over returning these children to their homes as quickly as possible.”
Representative Rogers joined Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions in expressing concerns about President Obama’s request for an additional $3.7 billion to deal with the present immigration crisis. Rep. Rogers said, “Frankly, I don’t think it would do much to secure our borders or help resolve this crisis as long as the president refuses to enforce our existing immigration laws. As a sovereign country, we must enforce our rule of law. I will continue to follow this situation closely and will continue to fight for our current immigration laws to be enforced.”
Since October, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children from Central and South America have entered the U.S. through its southwestern border. The children (most of them teen males) are in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement. Office of Refugee Resettlement statistics show about 6,775 unaccompanied children arrived in the U.S. each year from 2003-2011. That figure grew to 13,625 in 2012 and almost doubled to 24,668 in 2013. The most common native country for the unaccompanied children is Guatemala, followed by El Salvador and Honduras.
Republicans point out that this new flood of illegal aliens started coming after the President began using his executive authority to give millions of illegal aliens who were brought here as juveniles by their parents legal status in the country in the 2012 election year to galvanize his support among immigrant voters, particularly Hispanics.
Most of the illegal immigrants coming to this country believe that mothers with juvenile children and unaccompanied minors will not be deported by this administration, a widespread belief which is fueling this crisis and to this point little has been done to dissuade them of that view.
Congressman Mike Rogers represents Alabama’s Third Congressional District.