The White House is hitting back had at conservative critics of the Administration's handling of the recent influx of unaccompanied minor Central American illegal immigrants who have been flooding into South Texas, 1200 WOAI news reports.
In an off the record briefing with 1200 WOAI news, several White House officials stressed that the children are being 'processed for removal,' but are handled according to 'moral and legal agreements.'
"We are engaged in the appropriate care of these children who have arrived here without parents," one senior White House official told 1200 WOAI news. "It is also true that these children are in removal proceedings.'
Lance Curtright, who is a San Antonio immigration attorney, says 'removal proceedings' are administration PC-speak for 'deportation.' He also says that most of the children will apply for asylum in the U.S. on the grounds that they could be killed if they return to Honduras, Guatemala, or El Salvador, where more than 90% of the children are from.
"They are fleeing some really horrific circumstances," Curtright said. "These countries are basically overrun by gangs. A lot of these children have been victims of assault, physically and sexual."
The White House officials also rejected a claim which has been making its way through conservative blogs that taxpayers are on the hook for attorneys for these children. She said no tax money will be spent representing the children, but since they are facing legal proceedings, like any defendant under Miranda v. Arizona, they have the right to have counsel appointed.
"We are in the process of creating something called the 'Justice Corps,' which is an effort to recruit volunteer lawyers to provide counsel to these young people. We are engaged in the appropriate care of these children, but it is also true that they are in removal proceedings. This Justice Department complements other efforts to provide counsel to these young people because they are all in removal proceedings as part of the process moving forward."
The White House says 'specific laws' govern how the feds treat unaccompanied minors.
"Once the Border Patrol makes a determination that a child is in effect unaccompanied, we have 72 hours to turn that child over to HHS for care and custody," a White House official said. "First we issue a charging document that starts removal proceedings."
Curtwright says he doubts that any of these children will actually be sent back to Central America.
"It's almost akin to a war to our south," he said. "These are refugees coming up from that. There is no functional government there that is protecting these kids."
The White House also hit back hard at Republican claims, made largely to Tea Party connected lawmakers like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that President Obama is responsible for the influx of illegal immigrant children by his push for immigration reform, his renewal of the Deferred Action program for juvenile immigrants, or his push for legal status for people in the U.S. illegally.
"Immigration reform is the President's top legislative priority," the official said. "The President feels there is a window of opportunity this month and next month in the House. The solution to what is abundantly clear is a broke immigration system is Legislative action.
The officials said the fact that more than 90% of these children are from the dysfunctional Central American nations of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador proves that the President's comments are not 'luring' these children to the U.S. She said were that the case, refugees would also be coming from other Central American nations which don't have out of control crime and misgovernance issues, like Nicaragua, Panama, and Costa Rica.