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Protesters react to border crisis

By Dima Ansari, Medill News Service   |   July 8, 2014 at 9:28 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 7 (UPI) -- About 100 advocates for immigrant families and children protested outside the White House Monday, calling on President Barack Obama to quickly make good on his pledge to use executive orders to move immigration reform forward, especially to help the thousands of children crossing the border.

"From what I understand is that the president is going to launch an executive order in the next two months and that is important because it's going to stop the deportation of millions and millions of people," said Gustavo Torres, the executive director of CASA de Maryland, an advocacy organization for immigrant rights, as he led the protesters in a march in front of the White House.

The protesters were reacting to the recent news that thousands of children from Central America have been crossing the Mexican border into the U.S. alone, a number that is expected to reach 90,000.

Obama announced last week that he is requesting help from Congress to bolster the border patrol for deportation and reinforcement.

"I came here for a better life and to re-unite with my parents," said Cindy Monge, 19, who entered the country illegally but obtained legal status through the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals program created several years ago. "I fought for the Maryland Dream Act."

Ana Sol Gutierrez, Democrat and member of the Maryland House of Delegates, said politicians need to focus more on the well-being of the immigrant children.

But a pedestrian passing by the rally shouted, "Stop them from coming in illegally into the United States of America."

In response to this, Gutierrez said, "It's unbelievable that people can turn on children. They are children. They are human beings and we need to treat them that way."

It is not clear whether the Obama administration intends to give amnesty to the children or deport them.

In an interview with "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson repeatedly said the goal of the Obama administration is to "stem this tide" of children crossing the border, but was vague about whether these children will be allowed to stay in the United States.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairwoman Candice Miller, R-Mich., criticized Obama for doing little but offering "a formless commitment to continue (his) executive overreach and to spend more money helping countries that have instigated this crisis."

"Over the past several weeks, I have been calling on the president to take immediate, decisive action to address the unprecedented number of children being illegally smuggled across the southern border," Miller said in an emailed statement.

According to Miller, she has called on Obama to implement a "robust" educational campaign in Central America.

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