Dear President Obama:
We write to urge you to personally send a clear message to those seeking to enter the U.S. illegally.
The increasing numbers of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. border in Texas has caused an unfolding humanitarian situation that has required a coordinated federal response. While a number of factors are influencing the influx of unaccompanied children crossing the southern border, a significant contributor is reported misrepresentations of our immigration laws by bad actors such as human smugglers and a misunderstanding of our immigration laws by parents and children.
We urge you to use the resources at your disposal to personally make clear to those seeking entry to the U.S. illicitly that they will not receive special treatment when it comes to enforcing our immigration laws. Based on reports from unaccompanied children and federal officials, we respectfully recommend that you specifically convey that those unaccompanied children now entering the U.S. will not be eligible for deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA). Similarly, it would be helpful for you to clarify that legislative remedies at hand require children to have been in the country for an extended duration. For example, legalization under the Senate-passed immigration reform legislation requires, among other things, that undocumented immigrants have been present in the U.S. since December 31, 2011.
In addition, we encourage you to convey to your foreign counterparts in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras the urgent imperative for them to dispel the misunderstanding of our laws and to take action against those who are spreading such misinformation. Importantly, we also request that you work with the leaders of these countries to improve conditions in their countries so that their children do not feel the need to make the dangerous journey to the U.S., and to enhance regional collaboration to address this crisis.
The present situation begs your personal efforts to clarify U.S. immigration laws and to spur action from leaders of the primary sending countries.