In an appearance this morning at the American Enterprise Institute, top White House strategist Karl Rove implied a lack of executive authority impeded the President’s ability to secure the border.
Rove used the example of a law that grants illegal immigrants from El Salvador safe haven because of special protections they received when their country was in engaged in a civil war during the 1980’s. Rove said, “This is a problem that if we had more authority, that is to say something to deal with the court decision involving El Salvador and some additional money for additional facilities to detain people and additional transportation money, this is a problem of catch and release and we could end [it]. Our goal is to end it along the southwest border this year.”
Rove said “we will not be able to secure the border unless we have a temporary worker program” and that the only way to stop people from repeatedly crossing the border illegally is to “reduce the pressure by having a way for people to immediately come here to work and then return home.”
The administration believes they have made progress in securing the border. Rove complained that “Most people don’t understand we’re doing a heck of a lot better job getting control of the border” and said “six million people [have been] apprehended and removed from the country since 2001 this year. It’s 4,200 a day, more this year than last year.”
He also discussed improvements in the catch and release program, where immigrants are required to appear in court for illegally crossing the border. Rove said, “In the last year alone we have gone from a hearing took 66 days to today where it is 21 days and going further south.” Rove said there has been success in “expediting removal of these people from the country” and that last week 2,100 illegals were apprehended, but 830 were released. 700 of them were El Salvadors who Rove said, “We are obligated to release. We cannot hold them. There’s a many year old court decision which was issued during the middle of the civil war that said you cannot return people to El Salvador because there is a high risk they will be killed that is still in place even though today El Salvador is not in a civil war. Over 700 were Salvadorans.”
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