Cole joins call for action to curb influx of unaccompanied minors at borders

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) joined a bipartisan group of legislators on Friday in urging President Obama to enforce immigration laws in response to a sharp increase of unaccompanied minor immigrants arriving from Central America.

The number of unaccompanied minors at U.S. borders increased from 6,000 in 2011 to 66,000 last year. The number is projected to climb to 150,000 by 2015.

“While it initially went unnoticed, there is now a very apparent crisis at our borders,” Cole said. “Due to the failed policy of the administration, thousands of unaccompanied illegal minors are flocking to our nation, where they are overwhelming our facilities. Because the normal facilities are not able to manage this surge, the administration is now allowing and ordering use of our military bases, including Fort Sill in Lawton, for housing these juveniles.”

Cole and a number of leaders from the House Appropriations Committee said in a letter to Obama that the policy to not enforce immigration laws has fueled the issue.

“Rather than only manage the flow, the president must address the reason for the sharp change in it,” Cole said. “As the policy currently stands, once these individuals arrive in the United States, most of them are allowed to stay, which essentially incentivizes others to come and makes the problem even worse.”

In the letter, the legislators called for families of illegal immigrants to be detained near the border, for expedited immigration proceedings to be held, and for those who are deemed ineligible to be deported from the country.