Deal not done for immigration changes, Congress takes vacation
Members of Congress have tried to solve the problem of illegal immigration but the House and Senate have different bills. Now, a new poll shows Americans less happy with lawmakers.The new poll by NBC, The Washington Journal, and Marist shows 74% of Americans believe congress is unproductive and 50% believe they are very unproductive.Now, members of congress are on a five week summer break; they're scheduled to work just 113 total days this year. The August vacation comes just as Congress fails to reach an agreement on how much money to spend or what to do about the costly immigration crisis.A system handling just 6,000 illegal immigrant minors a decade ago is now flooded with more than 57,000 since last October, most from Central America.President Obama wants $3.7 billion dollars in emergency funds for the final two months of this fiscal year: $1.8 billion of that to feed and house the minors, $1.2 billion for processing.Marc Rosenblum is with the nonpartisan think tank Migration Policy Institute. He explains that even though there is no extra money in the treasury, the money will come from somewhere."Congress can spend money that it doesn't have. We run a deficit in many years. But congress isn't even close to agreeing on how much extra money to provide," Rosenblum said. But Congress isn't close to agreeing on how much money to provide."The President won't use what he has now to enforce the law. So we want to give him more to what-not enforce the law more?" Congressman Randy Weber asks.Weber, a Texas Republican, says money should first come from the countries whose citizens are fleeing in droves."We're gonna stop your foreign aid and you're gonna pay for that until you start helping us stem the tide," Rep. Weber said. "The president has got the wherewithal, the authority, and has had the money to secure the border from day one. He refuses to do so."The Democrat-led Senate proposed $2.7 billion dollars to cover the last two months of this fiscal year. The Republican-led House: $694 million. Of the total, Democrats would give Health and Human Services $1.2 billion more for housing and humanitarian assistance. Republicans: $197 million. Under Democrats, Homeland Security would get an extra $1.1 billion dollars. Republicans: $405 million.But the whole issue is so contentious, the Senate didn't even vote on its plan before Congress' five-week summer vacation. Meantime, the problem-and the expenses-continue to build.Rosenblum says they're manageable."The United States in terms of our population and in terms of GDP, we can handle taking care of 50,000 kids if, you know, that's what our hearts tell us to do," Rosenblum said."When you grow a government bureaucracy, you've got a larger criminal justice system, more immigration lawyers, more immigration judges, more immigration courthouses, a bigger system," Rep. Weber said.Is it ever going to shrink back? Weber calls that the $64 dollar question. History says it won't.The White House already announced $380 million in June for programs to help Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, where most of the minors are said to be fleeing poverty and violence.