With the families of those threatened by deportation by his side, Congressman Luis Gutierrez urged President Obama to keep families together as the immigration crisis continues to spark global debate.
“Mr. President, step up,” Gutierrez said. “Issue the executive orders immediately. There are too many families that have no time to wait.”
The Obama administration said Tuesday that it is formally asking Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to address the surge in unaccompanied minors coming illegally into the U.S.
The White House says the money is necessary to cover increased man-hours for border patrol agents and aerial surveillance teams, legal services, the hiring of 40 more teams of immigration judges and care for the children while they are in the country. Meanwhile, U.N. officials pushed for many of the children and families crossing the border to be treated as refugees fleeing armed conflict, putting pressure on the U.S. and Mexico to accept thousands of immigrants not currently eligible for asylum.
And undocumented immigrants in Chicago say the crisis hits home.
Josefa Gonzalez said her family is in turmoil after the father of her two U.S.-born children, Wilson Gomez-Pu, was taken into custody 10 months ago on a 13-year-old deportation order.
“This needs to stop,” Gonzalez said, speaking through a translator. “We suffer too much because of family separation. I am here because I do not want one more family to suffer like mine.”
As undocumented immigrants continue to fight deportation, others fight to cross the border into the U.S., including 15-year-old Gilberto Ramos, whose decomposed body was discovered in Texas, two months after he left his native Guatemala.
He was heading to be with his family in the Chicago suburb of Bensenville.
Augustin Corona faces deportation at the end of July.
“I’ve been here for 20 years,” said Corona. “I want to stay in the United States. I am here to take care of the United States and for my family.”