The White House is preparing an emergency request to Congress for additional powers to enable the fast-track deportation of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America who are crossing the US border illegally, a move that could bypass protections introduced by the the Bush administration.
President Barack Obama has called the surge of minors pouring across Mexico border and into the Rio Grande Valley a “humanitarian crisis” and has ordered officials to open emergency shelters on military bases and increase the number of border agents.
But in a significant toughening of the president's stance, to be announced formally on Monday, the administration will request the authority to immediately repatriate children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – the Central American countries from which most of the child migrants are travelling
A White House official told the Guardian the administration is planning to ask Congress to provide the department of homeland security with “additional authority to exercise discretion” in dealing with children from those countries. The request has been drafted in a letter to Congress that will be sent on Monday, the official said.