TIME Congress

Boehner: Obama’s Not Getting a ‘Blank Check’ for the Border

John Boehner
U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) answers questions during his weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol July 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee—Getty Images

House Speaker John Boehner indicates that the House won't pass President Obama's bill to combat the border crisis

House Speaker John Boehner brushed off President’s Barack Obama’s bill to address the border crisis as a “blank check” Thursday, indicating his chamber won’t pass the legislation as written. Boehner said the House should take action on the border crisis this month, but said any concrete steps are “yet to be determined.”

Obama announced Wednesday that he would consider sending the National Guard to better secure the border — a move Boehner supports — if the President receives the $3.7 billion he requested in supplemental spending legislation. Boehner slammed that added condition as political.

“He won’t do it for the kids; it’s all about politics,” said Boehner.

Boehner and Obama, however, do agree that a 2008 bill that dictates how the government handles unaccompanied child migrants should be reformed. One provision in that law mandates that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection must hand over within 72 hours the unaccompanied minors in its custody over to the Department of Health and Human Services, which takes care of them until the immigration cases are decided. Under the law, Border Patrol agents have the authority to determine whether children from contiguous countries—Mexico and Canada—are eligible to stay in the country.

Boehner said Thursday that he supports changing the law to apply to children hailing from noncontiguous countries. More than 50,000 unaccompanied minors have been caught on the southwest border this year; most hail from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

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