WASHINGTON Hillary Rodham Clinton says she supports creating a refugee screening process for Central American children in their home countries to discourage dangerous trips to the U.S. and opposes changing a 2008 immigration law under review by Congress.
The potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate says in an interview with Fusion's Jorge Ramos that Congress should provide more money to help immigration officials determine whether children should be considered migrants or refugees. Some of the children should be sent back, Clinton says, but the U.S. needs a "sensible, orderly process" to care for the tens of thousands of children crossing the border, mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
"A lot of people are understandably, as I am, upset about what's happened to these kids but if we don't have a procedure, it's not going to stop," Clinton said in the interview airing Tuesday.
Clinton's comments were her most extensive on the ongoing border crisis. She said in a CNN forum in June that the children should be reunited with their families but the U.S. needed to make clear that "just because your child gets across the border doesn't mean your child gets to stay."
Congress is seeking ways to reduce the influx of the children this week. Republicans have supported changing a 2008 law so that migrant youths can be sent home more quickly. Clinton cautioned some children would face "terrible danger" if they returned and a better process is needed to screen the children.
The White House is considering a pilot program that would give refugee status to young people from Honduras, which could be expanded to Guatemala and El Salvador. It involves screening youths in their home countries to determine whether they qualify for refugee status.