The White House, Washington

 


Dear Alma:

 

Thank you for reaching out. Like you, I am deeply concerned about the unaccompanied migrant children arriving at our border, and I am touched by your compassion for these young people. This is an urgent situation, and it underscores the need to drop the politics, respond quickly and effectively, and fix our broken immigration system once and for all.

My Administration continues to address this situation with an aggressive, coordinated Federal response on both sides of the border. We’re making sure we have sufficient facilities to appropriately house and process those who cross our border illegally. We’re also working with Central American leaders to publicize the dangers of the journey and to reinforce that apprehended migrants are ultimately returned to their home countries in keeping with the law. However, it is our legal and moral obligation to treat unaccompanied children with care and compassion while they’re in our custody.

Since the beginning of July, we have seen some initial signs of progress along our Southwest border—thanks in part to my Administration’s response. We are not declaring victory, and we must continue our intensive efforts on both sides of the border. We will keep taking aggressive steps to surge resources to our Southwest border, deter both adults and children from this dangerous journey, increase capacity for enforcement and removal proceedings, and quickly and safely return unlawful migrants who do not qualify for humanitarian relief to their home countries. And I’ve asked Congress to provide the funding these efforts need.

In the long run, though, the best way to truly address this problem is to fix our broken immigration system through comprehensive legislation like the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate last year. It would have strengthened our border security, equipped us with better technology, and bolstered the resources and personnel vital for an efficient removal process—including additional Border Patrol agents, asylum officers, immigration judges, and access to legal counsel. It would have also combated transnational crime and cracked down on criminal networks.

Again, I appreciate your perspective. I am working diligently to bring an end to this situation, and we intend to do the right thing by these children. But I have repeatedly made clear that parents need to know this is an incredibly dangerous situation, and they should not put their children in the hands of criminals. For more information about our efforts to care for these kids, and also to learn how you can help, visitwww.ACF.HHS.gov/Unaccompanied-Children-Frequently-Asked-Que….

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

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408-621-5262

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