Flood of children across U.S. border reignites immigration debate

An influx of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America has provided the latest fodder for the contentious debate over immigration reform.

The Times reports that President Obama has requested that Congress approve $2 billion in emergency funding to strengthen border security, and he wants authority to quickly deport children who are illegally crossing the Southwest border into United States.

Many of the children are being sent for processing and shelter in California and Oklahoma.

Immigration advocates have cautioned against rushing to deport the youngsters before learning more about their reasons for fleeing. But proponents of tougher immigration laws believe sending the children home would send a strong message against illegal immigration.

What is swelling into a humanitarian crisis has reignited the debate over the urgent need for reform.

Ann Simmons will host a live online discussion at noon Wednesday, July 2, on what the U.S. should do to address illegal immigration. Joining her will be William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC; Apolonio Morales, political director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles; and Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, associate professor at the Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana/o Studies at UCLA.