President Obama Faces Tough Questions Over Immigration

Some in Congress are hesitant to give the president the $3.7 billion he's asked for to contain the crisis.
13:24 | 07/09/14

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Transcript for President Obama Faces Tough Questions Over Immigration
The border crisis and the battle on Capitol Hill today. President Obama and he's nearly four billion dollars to get the border situation under control he says but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Are not about to hand over the money so easily. Many questions today I'm Michelle Franzen in New York that hearing heating up today and watching it all is ABC's senior Washington correspondent Jeff felony. Jeff senator Tom Carper chairman of the senate committee of homeland setting up the case today let's listen to his opening remarks. -- are saying that the current situation shows that are borders are not secure. I don't believe this is true -- let me be clear. These children and their families are not slipping past our borders undetected. There are being apprehended in large numbers by the Border Patrol almost as soon as they touch the US. Often turning themselves in voluntarily. People from Central America unlike Mexico must be flown back to their countries -- -- costly process can take months and sometimes even years. Process is even more complicated from -- from children and families because our laws appropriately. Record different treatment for these groups. Children must be handed over -- the department of health and human services and families must be detained in special facilities include educational opportunities for children. The border. Security system has been overwhelmed by the sheer number of these children Finland's. The masses agree there is a dire situation in the humanitarian crisis at the border but that doesn't mean. There is an easy path for the president receiving an open check for the three point seven billion he's asked congress to authorize cracked. That's absolutely right Michelle I mean everyone agrees that this is a problem pretty much everyone agrees that this is -- a humanitarian. I'm very deep humanitarian problem a crisis that is just escalating more and more but what people don't agree on. Is so the if the president it if his plans going to work. But I mean there's so much politics going on in this on Capitol Hill here it's hard to -- deciphered off. I mean the Republicans are saying that look we need more money to secure the borders of the president's not securing the borders so the president is up putting. I'm not this a request for three point seven billion dollar evidence Republicans are saying. Look -- not give you a blank check on this so what is really happening here a plant in public view is the appropriations process we're going to -- House Appropriations Committee sort of go through this line by line and in the senate. I'm Appropriations Committee tomorrow -- be hearings go through this line by line. Probably won't get the white -- exactly everything that they want but at the end of the day on this they are going to get to a more money and they well. -- to speed up the Padilla. The process of what's happening on the border -- with a deportations with hearings eggs that are. And you mentioned that it's really heating up on Capitol Hill house speaker John Boehner -- -- on this today also some of that exchange now. Similar to the president of more than two weeks ago. Outlining actions that he could -- already under the law. Yet he's not follow any of those recommendations. So it's time for us to to take a serious look at what needs to happen. If we don't secure the border. Nothing's gonna change. Senator and president's request. It's all more about continue to deal with a problem. We've got to do something about. Sealing the border. An end -- -- this problem. So that we can. Begin to move on but the bigger question of immigration. Very blunt remarks talking about sealing the border are there are other plans that lawmakers opposed to this Republicans and even Democrats have beyond. Securing that border and -- secures the border. And I think -- that is one thing that that -- besides not agreeing on we heard senator. A Tom Carper at the beginning here here he says the border is secure that the fifty. Border security officials aren't are -- people as soon as they're coming in a lot of Republicans still want to build that fence all across -- southern border of the US. Some of it is existing but someone to extend it. And make it even more I -- think it's. Right now we're just hearing. It's sort of buzz words from all sides secure the border do -- do that but. Both sides are talking past each other at some point -- have to get in a room and figure this out here so some of the committee's debt. Separate committees Homeland Security committees and things are actually going through and that. And trying to set politics aside and work on some of this but there is not. Sort of broad agreement on what to do with -- flood of of young minors and unaccompanied minors who -- coming here mean that is the root of the problem here that. So that a lawmakers and Capitol Hill really I can't do much about. And we certainly touched upon -- yesterday but -- into the -- little bit more of how this is really tangle here talked about the 2008 trafficking legislation. Signed by then president George W. Bush. -- are slamming the president for not going to the border today also to see the situation first hand. -- let's start with that at 2008 -- I was really -- in the final. In the final weeks of George W Bush's. A time in office and it was a bipartisan. Bill Republicans and Democrats alike supported it and it was designed to and an onslaught of -- miners who were being abused and the -- -- been a human but. The drug trafficking issues so. And what that law specifically did was. Treat people differently coming from Honduras Guatemala El Salvador then for Mexico they're saying if you make it to US soil. You can stay here. I'm of course -- here from Mexico -- you across illegally you cannot so that. The law in 2008 signed in December of 2008 was he is a humanitarian. Law but it has had unintended consequences now so that is actually at the heart of what is going to be really complicated and into fixing this a lot of Republicans and even some at the White House. Believe that they have to change that -- they have to do and make it just as easy to send someone back to Honduras and -- went back to Guatemala. As to a Mexico but a lot of Democrats. And a lot of for liberal immigration supporters believe that -- once they're here they have to be treated humanely so that is at the senator of this whole controversy -- one chapter of this controversy. And let's touch upon again now the president being slammed by many for not going to the border today to see the situation first hand before he meets. With the governor of Texas. Right he is in Colorado right now and he'll be going to a Texas later this afternoon a pre scheduled. Visit and he is going to be. Meeting with the governor -- shortly before 6 PM in Dallas he's not going to the border the -- has -- the white -- has resisted. Everyone I saying he should go to the border in these -- Democrats as well several house Democrats have said look the president should go to the border and see this problem first hand. Presidential trips are complicated. But some people say if he goes -- create a distraction. And it will it divert resources and other things. That if his advisors are there he's well aware of what's going on but there's nothing like a presidential trip someplace that. Focus is the country's collective energy on something. So if the president to work to go visit the border we would see Elvis pictures it would definitely elevate the situation. But that at this point the White House says still is holding fast saying that -- he's aware of what's going on at the border he's not going to play politics by going down there. You know it's the semantics in some respects but he's not the first president has been criticized for not visiting the some place for doing a flyover if you will and it you know in some respects it it -- comes with the territory. And -- in this week's of the crisis we've seen other lawmakers. Make the trip to the border into some of those facilities and back on Capitol Hill without rhetoric heating up. What can you tell us and make of that exchange with John McCain over bringing cell phones into the detainment facilities we have a clip of that first let's listen. The swing -- -- I've been representing state of Arizona for many years. And I've never seen anything like your instructions. To. Signed by your name interim protocol for visitation some tool orders. To -- BP detention facilities are you telling me. When -- visit a detention facility that I can't bring cell phone with me are you saying that. United States senator listening a facility these are the instructions that you have signed -- what you're saying. That the visitors. Conditioning congressional delegate for member of congress. Don't recall saying that -- it's what I would call and he -- you -- copy it says seat distribution are guilt. Kerlikowske commissioner. Interim protocol for presentations in tourist -- CBP detention facilities. He didn't see your own mammal. At that would be me okay -- beat me I did issue that memo. And we have had huge numbers of am -- allowed to bring cell phone with me when I go on to the facility Nogales Arizona met not to take photo I am not bitter I'm not allowed to take photographs not to take finance insight why not -- Why am I not allowed to do that the children have a right to privacy. And that's why we're not having their faces. Shone on -- they wanna take a photo a photo of something else. And Jeff are we in the -- here what do you make of that. We're so far in the -- we -- even see out and this is classic John McCain in many respects the I think you -- what was in the middle of a conversation and kind of got going in it became an argument and he wanted to prove that he. Sort of have the upper hand United States senators believe that day and should be able to go anywhere and do anything and see anything I mean -- this this actually that. Clip is sort of a good metaphor for. Why there's very little progress on what's going on here. All this talking committee hearings pretty small -- stopped and no one is in a room together are hammering out details of how to solve the actual -- -- John McCain is not alone. There are a lot of of house members and senators who often you know really get in the weeds on these hearings but I don't think that the cellphone John McCain so -- not the biggest most pressing. -- -- -- issue here of our time on this immigration debate. And just real quickly switching topics a little bit before we let you go out. Boehner who is suing the president talking about a lawsuit was asked today about Sarah Palin's calls for impeachment let's listen. Here over here please sir Edmund all of president Renault lost. -- President Obama. -- -- Governor Palin said I just by disagree but. I disagree. He disagrees on those what do you make of that. Speaker -- disagrees but he certainly did not want to expound on and I was standing right there at that news conference and the way he did not want to. Answer any more of that question and he had to it definitely doesn't want to pick a fight -- Sarah Palin speaking of John McCain you know of course but she was his running mate in -- 2008 but dot she's trying to fire up the -- -- it by saying that -- That if she believes in some other conservatives believes that I'm articles of impeachment should move forward against President Obama because of the border crisis. It all stems from that. Be a lawsuit that speaker Boehner is threatening to file against the White House and is going to file a later this month that. The house Republicans believe that the White -- Has overreached. In executive action so they are going to see them -- Sarah Palin thinks a lawsuit is on exactly the best way to handle it she says it's time for impeachment. But I'll tell you Michelle around Capitol Hill. Most. Most Republican -- site. Speak to who -- up for reelection they do not want the I word. Impeachment being talked about here that is the one way to turn off independent voters -- the one way to -- -- even some Republican voters that is an extreme. Thought and an impeachment proceeding would not exactly be helpful right now. I think out of fairness one more thing here in context not the first time we've heard. -- some people say we should impeach the president. I covered the bush administration's -- a lot of time -- capitals well a lot of Democrats said we should impeach President Bush over the Iraq a war we should impeach right. The vice president so kind of run of the mill a rhetoric but speaker Boehner wants to have nothing of it impeachment is not going to -- lips. The I word popping up again and of course back to the border will be following that all day and I know you will be as well ABC senior Washington correspondent Jeff -- thanks. Michelle thank you you can keep up with this story in real time by downloading the ABC news -- and starring the story for exclusive updates on the go. For now I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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