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White House announces steps to address immigrant surge

Published on Jun 21, 2014 10:25 AM
Illegal immigrants are seen at a US Department of Health and Human Services facility in South Texas in this handout photo courtesy of the office of US Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX) taken within last two weeks and released on June 12, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The White House on Friday stepped up efforts to slow the flow of illegal children into the country, expanding the government's ability to process and deport people and announcing new funding to boost security in crime-plagued Central American countries.

The Obama administration said it would boost the ranks of immigration judges, lawyers and asylum officers to quickly decide what happens to people apprehended at the border and to return them to their home countries.

"We are surging resources to increase our capacity to detain individuals and adults with children, and to handle immigration court hearings," Homeland Security Deputy Director Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters. "This will allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement - or ICE - to return unlawful migrants from Central America who are ordered removed to their home countries more quickly," he said.

Officials further announced US$9.6 million (S$12 million) in additional support to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to help them receive and reintegrate people who are sent back.

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