UK & World News

  • 10 July 2014, 6:58

Obama Backs Troops To Tackle Child Migrants

Barack Obama is supporting calls to mobilise National Guard troops to deal with thousands of Central American children trying to cross the border.

The President met with Texas Governor Rick Perry to discuss a growing humanitarian problem, with 57,000 children caught crossing the border since October 1, 2013.

Most of the children are from Central American countries such as Guatemala and Honduras and cross without their parents.

During the same time, immigration officials have arrested more than 39,000 immigrants, mostly mothers and children, travelling as family groups.

The sheer number of children has overwhelmed the government's ability to respond and thousands of children are now being held at US detention centres.

After meeting Mr Perry, the President said he was open to suggestions from the governor and others that he dispatch National Guard troops to the border.

But he warned such a solution would only work temporarily.

And he said any such action was being held up by Congress' delay in approving his request for extra funding - the White House has asked for $3.7bn (2.2bn).

"Congress has the capacity to work with all parties concerned to directly address this situation," Mr Obama told reporters.

Mr Obama resisted calls to visit the border during his Texas trip, prompting criticism from Republicans and even some Democrats.

However, White House spokesman Josh Earnest defended Mr Obama's decision, saying the president has "sufficient visibility to the problems".

Some Republicans made it clear that Mr Obama's budget request would be a hard sell.

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