White House officials reported on Tuesday that President Barack Obama will be asking Congress for approximately $3.7 billion to better respond to the rapid influx of undocumented immigrants into the U.S. The majority of this money would reportedly be used the processing of the thousands of individuals who are currently awaiting notice for deportation hearings in detainment centers across the Southwestern United States. According to CNN, this would include processing immigrants who have already arrived, aiding Central American countries in responding to the outpouring of their residents, prosecuting smugglers and providing a better standard of care for the child immigrants currently in federal custody. Since October 2013, over 50,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the border into America.
Republicans have already widely voiced their disapproval of President Obama’s request. Following a speech last week in the Rose Garden in which Obama brought the issue to light, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said he thought Obama was looking for a “blank check” to resolve an issue that was the result of his leniency regarding immigration policy.
To further complicate things, Obama is headed to Texas this Wednesday. Texas has quickly become fixed as the center of the immigration debate given its proximity to the border. In a move that has drawn criticism from both sides of the aisle, Obama is not planning to visit the border areas of the state during the one day that he is there. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been at the forefront of that criticism.
Following a failed run at the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2012, Perry may look to use the immigration debate as a springboard for his candidacy. His home state of Texas has spent over $500 million this decade in attempting to stop undocumented immigrants from crossing its borders.
President Obama has invited Perry to a private meeting in Dallas on Wednesday, though Perry did not immediately respond.