The crush of children that President Barack Obama said caused enough of a political shift to delay him taking executive action on immigration has subsided once again.
The monthly tally of unaccompanied children apprehended at the border fell for the second consecutive month to 3,141 for August, lower than in August 2013 and the lowest since February 2013, the Department of Homeland Security said Monday. The numbers of families are down as well to 3,295, following a peak in June of 16,329.
Although it’s the second drop in as many months, Obama said in an interview with Meet The Press that the impression most Americans now have of the border is of droves of children - 10,580 in May and 10,622 in June - and families showing up and swamping Border Patrol facilities.
Cecilia Muñoz, Obama’s domestic policy director, added Monday in an interview with Jose Diaz-Balart on MSNBC that the “situation at the border that happened over the summer has been really, really heavily exploited by folks on the other side of the aisle …”
Republican leadership went from laying out immigration principles to “a Republican House that the only thing they passed with respect to immigration had to do with deporting DREAMers, young people brought to this country as infants and small children who know no other country but this one,” Munoz said. “That’s a pretty profound change that demonstrates the political maelstrom we’re in.”
Obama's decision to delay executive action until after the elections has been vehemently criticized by Latino and other immigrants rights groups. Many advocates have been urging the Administration to expand eligibility to stem deportations of family members here illegally, many who have been here over a decade.
On Monday a group of children whose parents had been deported rallied in front of the White House.
Although Obama put off taking action until after Election Day, Nov. 4, Muñoz and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the president will take executive action by the end of the year.
"The most important thing is he does intend to act and he'll do it by the end of the year," Munoz said.
The president is willing to “take a little political heat from the pundits, from some of the advocates in the Hispanic community in particular, in order to ensure that the policy he puts forward is one that can be sustained," Earnest said.