Congress deadlocked on immigration

congressYesterday was a day of surprises in the House of Representatives.  It was supposed to be the last working day for the Senate and the House before the five-week recess; however, lawmakers in the House of Representatives have postponed the start of their August recess to try to come up with an agreement on how to respond to the immigration crisis that has seen around 60,000 minors from Central America cross the border into the United States.

The Chamber, led by the Republican party, abandoned plans for a vote on a spending bill of $659m.  This amount is considerably less than President Obama’s request for $3.7bn and also some way short of the amount of a rival border bill in the Senate.

Two-thirds of the proposed bill would go to law enforcement and border security under the House bill, with the original having being changed by House Republicans to focus more on border security to win favor with the more conservative members of the party.  Obama wants more temporary housing for the immigrant minors, who mostly come from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and more judges to make decisions about whether the minors should be given asylum in the United States on humanitarian grounds or returned to their homelands.

The great majority of Democrats have refused to support the House bill, saying that more money is needed to provide food and shelter for the immigrant minors.