Border Mayor on Immigration Crisis

ABC News' Jim Avila reports on the surge in unaccompanied minors into the U.S.; plus McAllen, TX Mayor Jim Darling on the growing crisis.
5:19 | 06/29/14

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Transcript for Border Mayor on Immigration Crisis
thank you very much. Now to the breaking news on the southern border. The white house asking for billions in emergency funding to deal with the record surge of children from central America. We'll hear more after this report from Jim Avila. Reporter: It's a double-barreled breach of the southwest border. Waves of unaccompanied children, 52,000 so far. At the same time, moms from central America hand-carrying their children across the border. Escaping violence at home, they exploit legal loopholes in American border security. A humanitarian crisis that is actually caused by U.S. Law. Frustrating as that may be to border states. We believe in the rule of law. And dang it, the federal government has a job to do. Reporter: So here's the law. Signed in 2008 by president George W. Bush. A bill that passed congress unanimously and says that children cannot be sent back. They must be held humanely until the courts release them to a suitable family member in this country. The Obama administration, as the president himself told George, has no choice. We have to house these kids and take care of them until the machinery under current law allows us to send them back. Reporter: And now, president Obama is requesting $2 billion in emergency funding from congress to help deal with the crisis. Along with expanded power for dhs to fast-track deportations and tougher penalties for smugglers. Homeland security sources say currently, more than 80% of these kids stay in the U.S. With either family or foster homes. Meanwhile, those moms flooding the border, there's no place to house them. So the border patrol drops them at the local bus station to safely join relatives here across the country. Irving? Orlando. Reporter: Memphis. They must promise to appear in immigration court, but no one will say how many ever do. Dhs says it's rapidly expanding facilities. Until then, these are empty threats. Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they'll get sent back. Reporter: For "This week," Jim Avila, McAllen, Texas. Joining us, the mayor of McAllen, Jim darling. Thank you so much for joining us. You have seen this new request from the white house. Will that do the job? Good morning, George. Hopefully, the fund willing work. We don't think it's a crisis. We're doing our efforts to make sure it doesn't turn into one. What are you seeing on the ground right now? Well, as I said, our bus station is kind of point zero. What happens is as people are processed through border protection, border patrol, they're dropped off at the bus station. We found out a lot of times, they have to wait overnight for their bus. They come. They only have the clothes that they have on their backs. They haven't had proper hygiene. They're hungry. A lot of little kids. What happened to us is the catholic church, the city of McAllen, other community entities got together and decided we're not going to send them from our city in those conditions. And are providing for all those needed services. What do you think is behind the surge? There's great debate going on. Some say it is because many families down there believe if they come here, they won't be deported. The amount of deportations is a fraction of those coming in. Others say it's children fleeing violence. Well, I think it is a combination. There's two categories. There's unaccompanied children that don't come to our bus station. They're handled by HHS. The others are moms and kids. That come across with the idea is, if they make it here, they'll be able to stay here. I think that is the rumor. As far as I know, I don't know the enforcement or collecting of the families. They have anywhere between I've heard 15 days to 60 to 90 days to appear before a court. They're now, by that time, assimilated into that society, whatever city they go to. I think the promise of being able to stay here is fostering the rumors. Whether that happens or not is up to the federal government to envor enforce. You say this is not a crisis yet. But let's look at the front page of the local newspaper. The costs are mounting for immigrant care. What kind of strain is this putting on McAllen? Well, quite a bit. We have spent $70,000 so far. We expect to spend more than $500,000 by tend of the year. The catholic charities expect to spend over $1 million by the end of the year. It's not fair to our charities to have to fund that. This is a federal situation. We have great volunteers here. I think the story is how our community has come together. To provide for people in need. We're worried about sustainability. From a standpoint of dollars and from community participation. We have doctors that volunteer to see the kids and moms. It's way too much to expect them to do that on a sustainable basis. Good luck with it all. Thank you, mayor. Up next, a big week at the

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