The emerging proposal from House Republicans is expected to amount to less than $1 billion, a fraction of President
With votes set for next week, days before Congress adjourns for the long August break, money is running out to care for the youths and process their immigration cases. An estimated 57,000 unaccompanied minors mostly from Central America have crossed into the U.S. since last year, many being sent to communities across the nation.
"The vast majority of our members want to solve this, and do it in a targeted way that actually addresses the problem," said Rep.
Money, though, is only part of the problem. Congress is deeply divided over what to do with the children. House Republicans take a harder line, focusing on beefing up the border with National Guard troops and returning the children to their home countries.
The debate has intensified because of mixed messages from the
The administration initially signaled it would ask Congress to change a 2008 anti-trafficking law to make it easier to return the children rather than guarantee judicial hearings required for refugees or others fleeing violence.
Democrats, though, have resisted that approach, and 10 Democratic senators signed on to a letter this week with Sen.
Republicans, though, argue the law must be changed to stem the flow of new migrants, as Homeland Security Secretary
It remains to be seen if the often fractured House Republicans can coalesce around the plan. GOP lawmakers appeared unusually unified Friday, possibly prepared to leave behind those who argue Congress should not act because the administration cannot be trusted to enforce laws.
"If we do nothing, the president is going to blame us for doing nothing," said Rep.
Under the House Republican proposal, Congress would reimburse states for deploying National Guard troops, as Republican Gov.
The Senate's bill mainly focuses on providing money to hire more immigration judges and care for the children while they are in judicial proceedings in the U.S., a process that can drag beyond one year. It also includes funds to improve conditions in the Central American countries.
Staff writer Michael A. Memoli contributed from Washington.