After a flurry of public complaints in recent days by President Donald Trump about the threat of a surge in illegal immigration from Central America, senior White House and Trump Administration officials argued on Monday that inaction by Congress on DACA and other immigration matters has prevented the feds from cracking down on those trying to illegally enter the United States.
"The large increase in Central American would-be-illegal-immigrants is being driven by the fact that there are serious deficiencies in our current laws that we spent the last year asking the Congress to close,' said a senior White House official.
"This flow of illegal aliens into American communities stands to only grow as a caravan of hundreds of Central Americans currently traveling through Mexico heads toward the U.S. border," the White House said in a written statement, as officials reported the number of unaccompanied children (UACs) entering the U.S. has been going up in recent months, as officials claim the DACA program and more acts as a magnet for those arrivals.
"Our immigration system continues to encourage and allow an influx of aliens to illegally cross our borders and resettle in American communities," the White House said in a Monday written statement.
One senior White House official repeatedly said Democrats in Congress were to blame for getting in the way of White House plans on immigration, charging the party's mantra is basically, "we want continuing unending illegal immigration."
In a conference call with reporters, senior White House and Trump Administration officials said too many loopholes allow people to try to take advantage of a system that lets some claim political asylum and persecution back in their home country, in order to gain entrance into the United States.
The immigration call by the White House came after several days of frustrated statements by the President on Twitter, in which he criticized Democrats over a lack of a deal on DACA, and blasted Mexico for not doing more to stop those in Central America who are making their way into the United States.
While the President on Sunday called 'catch and release' a "ridiculous liberal (Democrat)" law, it isn't a law at all, but rather a policy for how to deal with illegal immigrants picked up by U.S. authorities, and one that Trump officials said on Monday is not easy to solve without Congressional action.
The Trump Administration had already announced it had ended 'catch and release' back in February 2017, issuing an immigration policy memo that clarified when illegal immigrants were captured in the United States, they should be sent back, not released into the United States while waiting for an immigration hearing.
"Such policies, collectively referred to as "catch-and-release," shall end," the Trump Administration memo stated.
But administration officials acknowledged on Monday that it's not so simple to end catch-and-release, as a series of court decisions and other administrative policies require family units and unaccompanied children to be released after a short period of time in federal custody.
Officials also said on Monday that the Department of Homeland Security is working on a new package of immigration law changes to send to the Congress - but there's no guarantee that GOP leaders can push something like that through either the House or Senate.
In a recent debate on DACA in the Senate for example, the President's favored illegal immigration plan had 60 votes against it - and an even tougher immigration measure backed by other Republicans has not been brought up on the House floor, because of a lack of GOP support.