Politics and pessimism on Thursday overtook any possibility of a swift congressional response to the flood of unaccompanied, undocumented children at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the House and Senate continued moving toward dramatically different approaches.
Questions and debate swirl around contentious policies, as well as the amount of emergency funding needed to address the crisis. Many key Senate and House Democrats will go along with President Obama's $3.7 billion request, but House Republicans say they are looking at less than half of that amount.
Meanwhile, other clashes came over recommendations — including some calling for drastic changes to existing laws — from a special House "working group" led by Rep. Kay Granger of Texas. Among the group's "principles" for GOP legislation to deal with the border crisis is putting an end to the so-called "catch-and-release" system for unaccompanied minors.
And more turbulence is on the horizon: Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said Thursday he wants to require Obama to stop giving special treatment to undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children.
Cruz didn't make clear how he envisioned ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which ensures that eligible unauthorized immigrants will not be deported and can get driver's licenses and work permits. But he said he wants that as a condition of granting the administration emergency funding to deal with the current crisis — even though the program is not directly related, policy-wise, to the flood of children arriving from Central America.