As President Obama readies a post-election immigration plan expected to clear a path for citizenship for millions of illegals, his immigration czar on Tuesday said that the border is bracing for another surge of undocumented children, raising this year’s wave across the southern border to some 130,000.
Leon Rodriguez, the new director of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, said that the federal government is already working to “prepare for another potential surge” across the border.
Part of that preparation includes a new focus on asylum requests and clearing the backlog of 400,000 claims.
Noting this year’s historic wave of immigrants across the Mexico-U.S. border, Rodriguez said, “In order to process individuals more efficiently at the border, the unaccompanied children presenting claims, we have had to redeploy, we’re also hiring more asylum officers.” He added, “We do have a lot of work to catch up.”
In introducing Rodriguez at the 11th annual immigration law and policy conference hosted by Georgetown Law School, Donald Kerwin, executive director for the Center for Migration Studies, put the year-long surge of undocumented youths at 130,000.
Rodriguez did not provide any details about the president’s pending plan, but said his agency was getting ready to enforce it.
He said that it would not be anything similar to the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration plan. “There is no substitute for actual comprehensive immigration reform,” he told the crowded conference, also sponsored by the Migration Policy Institute and Catholic League Immigration Network Inc.
Rodriguez, the son of immigrants, indicated a sympathy with those who believe immigrants help America.
“Immigrants are good for America,” he said, highlighting professionals as well as welders and agriculture workers.
RELATED: Hispanic community souring on Obama
He also said that young illegal immigrants should be given a chance in America. Rodriguez noted that many young illegals are “willing to break their backs” at U.S. jobs and represent a potential "to energize” the economy.
“We have to approach immigration in a way that gives individuals like this a chance,” he declared.
And he said that the nation has to provide “due process” to make sure that a mistake isn’t made and a child seeking refuge or asylum due to intolerable conditions isn’t mistakenly sent back home.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.